The Prevalence of Mobile Devices Among Consumers Drives a Shift in Retail Marketing

AUSTIN, Texas—The mobile device has become a key element of many consumers’ path to purchase, and retail marketers are adapting their strategies to adjust to this ongoing consumer shift.

One result is that retailer marketers expect to pump more money into their marketing budgets this year as they tap into a wide array of media to reach their target customers, according to a recent report by RetailMeNot Inc. The firm, based here, describes itself as a “savings destination connecting consumers with retailers, restaurants and brands, both online and instore.”

RetailMeNot, working with Kelton Research, surveyed more than 200 senior-level retail marketers about their strategies and tactics for 2018. After analyzing the results, RetailMeNot said it identified several key trends and insights that marketers said will affect their marketing decisions this year.

Trends such as virtual reality represent “an exciting frontier,” however, most retail marketers are more realistic and are focused on more realistic forward-looking trends, the report noted. Indeed, more than half of retail marketers surveyed said that improving mobile web checkout capabilities (52 percent) and offering exclusive promotions for mobile app users (51 percent) will positively affect sales growth in 2018.

One of the most important trends this year, according to the report, is that retailers anticipate their focus will be on “just commerce overall,” as their marketing teams “shift away from e-commerce, m-commerce and store-specific initiatives.” The goal will be to deliver “a remarkable customer experience” across all of the company’s marketing and sales initiatives.

"Retail marketers are no longer thinking in channel silos,” RetailMeNot chief marketing officer Marissa Tarleton said in an announcement about the survey’s results. “They are approaching commerce holistically with an understanding that consumers are channel-agnostic. Delivering an experience that meets the consumer in the moment across the shopping journey will be the pathway to success for brands."

Among the other findings of the survey:

* Nearly 90 percent of retail marketers will increase marketing spend this year.

* Deals will be a key area of investment, with three in four retailers increasing the number of promotions and deals they offer this year.

* To improve the quality of traffic, 63 percent of retail marketers will increase their direct media buying in 2018.

* 72 percent of retail marketers will use mobile marketing to drive in-store sales, indicating marketers' belief that mobile marketing influences all commerce.

The complete report and a rundown of the key trends can be downloaded here.