Every retailer in non-tourist-focused regions dreads the potential summer sales slump that occurs when consumers go off on their vacations and start saving for back-to-school season. By the time July rolls around, many individuals have already stocked up on sandals, sundresses, beach gear, and other warm-weather apparel, leaving brands concerned about ridding stores of excess inventory and clearing the shelves for fall collections.
However, this sales uncertainty can be sidestepped with the one most ubiquitous purchasing channel for any season: mobile. Retailers can leverage a plethora of mobile shopping strategies to bolster sales and entice consumers to shop on their smartphones or visit their bricks-and-mortar locations during the busy summer season. Tactics including app-only discounts, Instagram contests, and in-ad store locator tools have the ability to heat up seasonal sales – and consumers’ wallets.
Interest on Insta: Many millennials live on Instagram when it comes to their social media network of choice. Spotting a particularly well-shot or curated photo of summery products can catapult an Instagram user’s interest from passive to must-have in a matter of seconds. A growing number of retailers, including Jack Rogers and Ann Taylor, are tapping into the easy strategy of using Instagram contests to bolster their social followings and drive summer sales.
Ann Taylor is inviting its followers to participate in weekly giveaways throughout the season by uploading photos in accordance with the themes onto Instagram. Interested participants can click the link in the brand’s Instagram bio to get taken to its mobile site, where they may receive additional information and also shop the latest new arrivals.
Meanwhile, Jack Rogers has found the ideal way to show off its summer sandals – by asking fans to upload personal pictures of themselves wearing its shoes while traveling in exotic locales. The footwear marketer then chooses one image to display on its channel each week, with the entrant that receives the most votes per month winning a free pair of sandals.
Another marketer that has perfected the art of seasonal-themed mobile sales pushes is Gap. Gap purchased ads on Instagram to alert users of its Passport to Summer sweepstakes, which requires participants to take daily selfies adhering to a specific theme, upload them to a dedicated campaign microsite, and earn points and badges that can be redeemed for gift cards and other assorted prizes. By promoting daily interactivity and giving each participant a complimentary discount code to use on a future purchase, Gap is ensuring that fans stay up-to-date with its latest merchandise.
App-only advantages: Retailers seeking to simultaneously drive mobile app downloads and sales need to look no further than implementing app-only discounts or promotions. Often times, consumers need an incentive in order to make room for more mobile real estate on their smartphones, and what better way to inject excitement into shopping than offer an exclusive code? The heyday of paper coupons has passed, paving the way for new types of deals, such as $20 off an order of $100 more made in a retailer’s mobile shopping app, or 40 percent off a purchase made during a summer holiday weekend.
Location, location, location: Marketers that want to bump up their in-store traffic during summer weeks when consumers are most likely enjoying the outdoors should turn their attention to location-based targeting. The lion’s share of their last-minute summer purchases may come from consumers’ Google search queries – for example, an individual looking for swimming trunks with speedy shipping options. However, the advent of new ad units, such as Facebook’s mobile ads with store locator features, can help remind shoppers in the vicinity of a cannot-miss summer clearance or a replenished stock of bestselling sundresses. Consumers who spot the ad pop up in their newsfeeds can use the store-locator tool to open the Maps feature on their smartphones and receive step-by-step directions to the nearby bricks-and-mortar store.
Although these strategies are undoubtedly influential with millennial consumers, they can be applied to any demographic active on mobile. The trick is identifying the cause for summer sales slumps, and then brainstorming the best ways of combatting those issues with the help of omnipresent mobile devices. Ultimately, incentives and interactive-heavy sweepstakes go a long way with individuals looking for bite-sized pieces of distraction during their work weeks or vacations – as do enticing mobile ads with direct calls-to-action and a readymade list of directions.
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