Pushing Deals to the Mobile Shopper

by Net Future Institute on July 3, 2014

By Chuck Martin

The app vs. mobile website discussion continues as consumers await the value provided.

Many mobile app users agree to receive push notifications from various companies but some retailers may be a step behind.

Aside from the multitude of shoppers who use mobile websites, those using apps for shopping aren’t being tapped on the mobile shoulder as much as they could be.

More than two-third of the largest 100 online retailers don’t send push notifications, based on the Retail Mobile Messaging Study by OtherLevels

The survey, started in 2012, involved downloading the mobile apps of online retailers and tracking them to see which of those requesting opt-in actually sent messages and which never sent anything.

The findings essentially show that most mobile shoppers aren’t being proactively asked to participate in deals.

Of course, part of the overall reason for the lack of push messaging from online retailers is the lack of mass app adoption by the merchants.

While the big guys, as in 77% of the top 100 internet retailers, have a mobile app, fewer than half (40%) of the top 500 do, based on the study.

The survey includes iOS apps only, though it also found that 66% of the top 100 retailers also have an Android app and there were no cases of a retailer having only an Android app.

There were some interesting insights regarding how the top 100 online retailers interact with mobile customers.

31% — Sent push notifications
30% — Requested users to opt in to share GPS location
27% — One-year growth of mobile opt-in requests among top 100 retailers

Interestingly, while one side of the retailer app continues to mature, others are looking to extend push notifications further down the pipeline.

Somewhat ironically, as the survey highlighting the lack of push notifications from retailers was being released, mobile messaging company Outspoken was introducing its linkage of SMS messaging into Apple’s Passbook.

The idea is that deals, such as coupons, gift cards and tickets, can be received via SMS or MMS and passed along into Passbook. The deal then can be automatically triggered based on location, like when a consumer enters a store with a relevant coupon available.

Of the top 300 online retailers, most (75%) leverage SMS as part of their mobile strategy, according to the OtherLevels study.

The long-term opportunity is for retailers to head in the same direction as mobile shoppers.



Chuck Martin is Editor of the mCommerce Daily at MediaPost and writes the daily MobileShopTalk column. He is the author of “Mobile Influence,” “The Third Screen,” and “The Smartphone Handbook.” He is CEO of Mobile Future Institute. Chuck Martin is a frequent Mobile Keynote Speaker and Mobile Marketing Speaker internationally. He also addresses Social Media in Mobile.


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