E-commerce future is mobile

So do it right

Depending on which marketing professionals you listen to, or what articles you read, direct email marketing is either on the decline or maintaining its impressive ROI. Despite the differing opinions, almost everyone agrees that the digital marketing tactic must evolve with the changing technology and online habits of the intended audience.

Much of the focus has been on pairing email marketing with social media. But most recently there has been an urgent need to adapt practices again, this time to meet the rapid growth of mobile users. Marketing strategies that don’t have a mobile component are less successful now and will be in the future.

Mobile use growing

We’ve already experienced declining numbers of consumers visiting web-based email sites using PCs, according to comScore. A November 2010 study also showed email engagement using desktop and laptop computers declined by nine per cent while the number of page views dropped 15 per cent. However, during the same time period daily email access using mobile devices increased 40 per cent. Further to that, comScore’s January, 2012 study estimated 90 million Americans access email through a mobile device, with 64 per cent doing so on a daily basis. With such overwhelming numbers, its obvious today’s email marketing campaigns must cater to both PC computer and mobile users. Unfortunately for many campaigns, mobile is still an afterthought, where it should be front and centre.

Old webpages not good enough

The growing number of mobile users are increasingly fickle and likely won’t engage with a website if it isn’t mobile optimized.  A 2012 survey conducted by BlueHornet, a leading email marketing service provider, found 70 per cent of consumers delete emails immediately that won’t render on a mobile device. Marketers must ask themselves, who wants to view a website if they can’t read the tiny type on their four-inch smartphone screen? To answer this, conduct your own experiment to better understand the experience of mobile users. Open your emails in the morning with a smartphone – chances are you receive three or four marketing emails each morning. When you open an email, click through the links all the way to the checkout, as if you were going to buy the product or service.

It’s likely that somewhere through the steps you came across a PC-designed webpage and the type was so small you had to zoom in to read it. For an example of how to cater to the mobile audience, have a look at the marketing emails sent out by Groupon. They’ve recognized the growing number of mobile customers and geared campaigns towards them, further proof of the importance of mobile.

Take it from Groupon

One thing Groupon and other daily deals marketers do correctly with their mobile strategy is they employ a specific mobile landing page with a prominently displayed call to action (CTA) and use large buttons, photos and type.

Some others tactics and elements that should be incorporated into a successful mobile email campaigns include:

  • Design emails to be easily viewed by both desktop and mobile email consumers.
  • Images should be larger and should span the full 600px
  • Buttons and CTA’s should also be larger and clickable if viewed in a mobile browser.
  • You can use media queries for iOS devices so that emails dynamically serve up emails optimized for each platform. Lululemon does a great job with their newsletter using this technology.
  • Have a link at the top that lets users view both desktop and mobile versions on the web.
  • Auto direct mobile users to mobile-optimized landing pages.

Marketers using e-commerce emails that drive users to auto-direct websites should consider using mobile e-commerce platforms such as shopify.com and mobecommerce.net to ensure the mobile user experience encourages sales.

Photo credit: Marc Flores