Shopping Has Moved to the Smartphone? Perfect.

Yet another threshold has been crossed for digital marketing: for the first time ever, mobile is now the primary way that consumers shop online.

A great roundup of studies at Internet Retailer tells us how our smartphones became the place where we shop for just about everything. And mobile devices have swiftly overtaken computers for their share of our shopping time:

  • One tech vendor has benchmarked some of its clients for years. Last month the mobile share of their traffic hit 50.7% of their total online traffic.
  • A survey from comScore found that 56% of time spent at online retailers is happening on mobile devices.
  • Mobile traffic to UK retailers also crossed the 50% barrier, according to Capgemini and IMRG.

While most buying still happens on the desktop, it’s now evident that nearly every major purchase now has mobile touchpoints within the researching and browsing phases. The mobile phone now occupies an incredibly powerful place in the customer journey. So, what to think of this moment for retail?

Here at Signal, we’re excited. Yes, the movement to mobile makes certain things trickier. For instance, the widespread lack of cookies on iOS can make it more complicated to track your users. But just think: your customers are standing on the train or in line at the movie theater, and they are buying your product–no laptop necessary. (And those bigger iPhone 6 screens announced yesterday won’t hurt, either.)

We can help you make sense of your mobile data–and act on that data immediately. With Signal Fuse, we make it easy to leverage desktop behaviors for mobile campaigns, or use mobile actions to drive web campaigns.

Identifying Your Customer

One problem that plagues many marketing vendors is recognizing that a customer who shops on a company’s website is the same one who visits their mobile site. Often advertising vendors have no way of knowing that it’s the same customer on both the desktop and mobile web. And if they don’t know that, they’re missing opportunities to generate greater ROI from their marketing dollars.

But Signal is able to identify this customer as being one and the same, using our Universal ID technology. Further, a marketer can use Signal to match this customer with other offline data in the retailer’s CRM, such as her buying history or membership in a loyalty program.

Taking Action in Real Time

Signal sets itself apart by making these connections in milliseconds, which lets you take action immediately–true real-time marketing–while the customer’s desires are still current, and a sale can be made. This opens the door to any number of inventive and cutting-edge marketing campaigns that bridge mobile and desktop.

Someone shopping for a new house views a nearby property on their phone’s browser? Using Signal, the real estate site can email the prospective buyer information on the home’s next open house, and suggest other homes that might be of interest.

A shopper abandons their shopping cart in their desktop browser? Signal can give the retailer the real-time data so that a lusted-after pair of shoes appears moments later in a mobile ad the shopper sees.

These are times of rapid change for marketers and agencies. At Signal, we love mobile–and we can help you find and communicate with your customers, no matter what screen they’re using.

Originally published September 10, 2014

Laurel Wamsley

Laurel Wamsley was the Marketing and Communications Manager at Signal, and the editor of Signal's blogs. She worked previously at the University of Chicago, Rackspace, and NPR.

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