Top tips from IAB – how retailers can get the most out of mobile


Mobile traffic is soaring – but many retailers and marketers still aren’t making the most of it. Mike Reynolds, senior mobile executive at IAB UK, gives us his top tips for maximising mobile retail.

Analyse your traffic, a lot of it is mobile!

It feels like 2014 was a real tipping point for online traffic, and this is highlighted no more so than in the retail sector. The IMRG published some research recently that showed the majority (52%) of traffic to retail websites is now coming from smartphone and tablet devices. (Source: IMRG Capgemini Quarterly Benchmarking Report)

Thankfully, we’re at a point now where most retailers have ticked the optimised site box; however mobile shouldn’t stop there. To get the most out of the channel you should be continuously analysing and tracking your mobile assets.

The argument that I hear a lot from advertisers about why they aren’t investing as much resource as they should be into their mobile strategies is because “people just don’t buy stuff on their phones”.

As you might expect, people tend to favour the desktop to purchase higher category items, however this doesn’t mean that mobile hasn’t played a vital role in the purchase journey somewhere along the way. This was highlighted in a piece of IAB research, RealView, which looked at the way people used their devices. What we found was that 78% of recent purchases had involved a connected device, which highlights the importance of mobile devices in the purchase funnel.

Make sure your mobile experience is a seamless one

IAB research has shown that if your mobile experience doesn’t meet consumer expectations they’re unlikely to find you on another digital touch point. In a world driven by conversions, this means your brand could be making it easy for your customers to turn to a competitor, and stay there.

Consumers don’t draw the line between desktop and mobile which means, as an industry, neither should we. More often than not, people will pick up the closest device to hand, so it’s vital to make sure their high expectations are met no matter the size of screen.

Responsive web design is a great approach to mobile, tablet, and desktop design. It’s seen real growth over the past 12 months, growing from 11% of the top 100 UK advertisers with a responsive website in August 2013, to 24% in February 2014. I expect we’ll see that figure increase significantly when we repeat the study, as responsive web design establishes itself as a great solution to web development.

If your brand has an app, make sure your site on mobile, tablet and desktop work together with the app. This means that actions performed in an online account (for example, creating a wish list or initiating an order) should translate to the app and vice versa. Don’t force customers to start from scratch when they switch devices.

Experiment with new technology

The digital advertising industry is extremely fast paced, and sometimes it feels like once you’ve finally got your head around one thing, something else even more confusing will pop up! That said, I’d urge retail brands to put time into experimenting with new and innovative technologies.

Development in technologies such as iBeacon mean that retail suddenly becomes a much richer experience for consumers. iBeacon’s integration with passbook means brands can send users coupons, or vouchers, for their products right at the point sale. What better way to drive impulse purchase than bridging the gap between the online and offline world? The hysteria of last years Black Friday made me realise that all people really want is money off stuff; all iBeacon technology does is help facilitate that.

Mobile rich media is also an area that retail brands should be exploring. Developments in rich media mean brands are now able to create compelling and engaging ad campaigns to complement their marketing strategies. For examples of some awesome rich media we’ve compiled a Mobile and Tablet Creative Gallery to get brands thinking more creatively about mobile, and to inspire them to think outside the box!

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