Even though it’s easier than ever for consumers to buy things through mobile devices, many companies have yet to take notice of this opportunity. Perhaps more would if they knew the massive size of the opportunity: More than $500 billion in sales is now influenced by mobile content.

The go-to example of a company seizing this opportunity is Starbucks. Just last month, we heard that a staggering 16 percent of all its transactions in North America come from mobile. The trick? While its competitors were ignoring mobile, Starbucks opted to go on the offensive by capitalizing on its mobile-focused customer base. As a result, it gained upwards of $6 million in mobile transactions per week — all by simply making it easier and more enjoyable to shop at Starbucks using a smartphone. Starbucks anticipated the mobile opportunity long before its competition did, and this proactive approach has given the company the equivalent of an added $30 billion in business per year.

In 2016, the portion of mobile-influenced in-store retail sales, like those at Starbucks, is expected to jump from 20 percent to more than 50 percent, according to a study by Deloitte. This means that right now, almost half of a brand’s customers will soon be proverbially “up for grabs” to anyone with an effective mobile marketing strategy.

Here are a few tips you can employ as you think about your mobile game plan:

1. Guard your mobile-influenced customers.

To kick-start your mobile marketing program, start by paying close attention to your current customers. Personalization is key to making every interaction relevant to that customer. You should also pinpoint the times that your customers are using mobile in their purchase process and begin providing them with relevant content. Observe what people on their phones are looking for. Make sure your brand is providing it to them.

Start off with basics like using push notification engagement through your app when customers enter or near your store. Or leverage relevant, location-triggered messaging to target personalized content specific to the mobile influenced audience. Or send a reminder that a coupon is about to expire when customers near your retail store.


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2. Aggressively pursue your competitors’ mobile-influenced customers.

If you aren’t leveraging the power of location-based notifications, it is time to get started. If you are, you should be using it to give your competitors’ customers an offer they can’t refuse, such as a mobile ad that appears only for your competitors’ shoppers. Amazon is doing this today. You can take it a step further and only target your competitors’ highest value customers.

By leveraging a combination of targeted mobile advertising and a dynamic mobile wallet, you can find shoppers who should be your high value customers. Once you have found and identified them, deliver mobile web and mobile wallet content to entice them to switch brands — and, thanks to the inherent trackability of both mobile web and mobile wallet, you can watch them make the switch in real time.

3. Become a mobile giant.

Take things up a notch by coming at things from both ends. You can create a multi-channel campaign across email and SMS, for example, or solicit customers through personalized advertisements. You can also take your mobile content to the next level by crafting engaging mobile wallet experiences, personalized for each customer. The key is to balance taking care of your own customers with taking advantage of opportunities to gain market share from your competitors.

Marketers sitting on the sidelines are missing out on an incredible, half-trillion-dollar opportunity. Brands who so choose can effectively own the mobile marketing channel and a direct link to both their customers and all of their competitors’ customers.


Alex Campbell is the cofounder and chief innovation officer of Vibes, a mobile marketing leader based in Chicago. Founded in 1998, Vibes combines award-winning technology and mobile expertise to unlock new revenue potential for retailers and brands.

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