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August 31, 2016

Despite talk of online retail's rapid replacement of brick-and-mortar businesses, most retail sales in the United States still take place in a physical store—but don't be fooled into underestimating the role the Internet plays in those sales. According to a Forrester study reported on by Mobile Commerce Daily, mobile influenced more than $1 trillion in retail sales in 2015, and the majority of these purchases happened in-store. Mobile marketing has a place in nearly any strategy.

Even when the final transaction is taking place somewhere else, mobile often plays a central role in the shopping experience for consumers. From product research to price comparisons, mobile devices wield enormous power—and that's something brands must be sure to consider when building their marketing campaigns.

On mobile, marketing opportunities are vast, and ripe for innovation. Different types of content over channels ranging from browsers to apps, and from social media to text messaging, can be leveraged to influence shopper decisions while providing a better branded experience. Many retailers are working on mobile strategies to varying degrees, but some are ahead of the curve. Here's a look at three retailers and the mobile strategies they've wielded for incredible results.

Staples
Office supply retailer Staples used a two-step approach to mobile marketing, and the results have been stunning. The company deployed two separate ads to targeted consumers, at different times. In one ad, according to Mobile Marketer, the company engaged consumers and presented their product line through an interactive game and a calculator consumers could use to see how much they were saving at Staples. The game was embeddable on social media, which made it easy for consumers to share, and gave the company latitude in how it targeted its audience.

The second phase of the mobile campaign involved a direct message response that offered a more personal approach, and was more direct in calling consumers to action. It proved far more lucrative than the first, accounting for 77 percent of all revenue. It's worth noting, however, that the two campaigns likely worked together to qualify leads and drive conversions.

In the end, Staples earned an ROI that was four times greater than the estimated ROI for an interactive ad. Mobile's ability to combine multiple phases of a marketing campaign, and to deliver different types of content, has proven a valuable asset to the company.

Pep Boys
Automotive company Pep Boys relies heavily on foot traffic to sustain their business, so, at the end of 2014, they decided to build a mobile campaign around text messaging and mobile wallet promotions, with a goal of motivating consumers to visit nearby locations.

The company had already used promotional offers as a cornerstone of their marketing strategy—this time, they made those promotions available over mobile via an opt-in program established on their website. The company also uses GPS information to target consumers based on their proximity to a Pep Boys location, and uses push notifications to help activate consumers and drive a visit to a nearby store. By establishing communication with consumers via text message, and incentivizing local store traffic through mobile coupons and mobile wallet promotions, Pep Boys hit a home run on this campaign.

A whopping 26 percent of consumers who viewed the offer wound up adding it to their mobile wallet, according to Vibes. Ultimately, 30 percent of all offers added to consumers' mobile wallets were redeemed at a brick-and-mortar location. Their adoption of the then-nascent WalletAds technology continues to pay off. Earlier this year, Assistant Vice President of Marketing Rachel Silva told Loyalty360 that the technology's simplicity and convenience keep consumers and employees happy.

Kohl's
Clothing retailer Kohl's uses a promotional offer system to drive business both online and in-store. But the beauty of their strategy is in its simplicity, and in the company's ability to track performance, as well as where purchases are made.

Alerts can be delivered via email, text, or other outlets, and they can facilitate quick, unannounced sales that incentivize consumers to opt in to receiving the messages. Promotional content is typically very simple and straightforward, which serves smaller mobile screens well, and mobile offers can be redeemed through a code that can be scanned from the screen. As Internet Retailer points out, Kohl's used this promotion-heavy strategy to hit new sales records during last year's holiday shopping season.

The greatest value to Kohl's, though, might be in the rich consumer data such a program can gather. With widespread adoption by its target audience, and a consistent stream of promotional offers, Kohl's can build a revealing map of how, when, and where consumers make purchases.

≥≥ Need a Shortcut?
Mobile has a huge influence on retail, even when it comes to brick-and-mortar sales.
Mobile marketing can combine multiple channels to create a seamless, branded experience.
When building mobile marketing campaigns, retailers should create data acquisition channels to learn about consumers and make campaigns smarter
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