Legacy Retailers Feel Like Laggards As They Work to Master Mobile Marketing

Legacy Retailers Feel Like Laggards As They Work to Master Mobile MarketingThere’s an interesting piece in Ad Age this week that reveals what legacy marketers are facing in the brand new world of mobile marketing.

George Siefo’s article opens with this admission: “Macy’s is an old hand at desktop but when it comes to mobile, it’s still learning on the fly.”

Siefo quotes Serena Potter, a marketing executive with Macy’s, who has been watching customers migrate from desktop to mobile for about five years.

“The shift prompted the largest department store in the nation to double down on mobile, Ms. Potter said, even though it initially didn’t have the space figured out.”

In fact, everything has changed for the old line retailers who had nailed down their acts long before mobile came along. Now?

“Beyond creating mobile technology, there are myriad issues for traditional retailers to sort out, such as apps, loyalty programs, data collection, and anticipating what’s next after mobile,” notes Siefo.

“Macy’s was optimizing and doing desktop for years,” admits Potter.” And we became really good at it; desktop became predictable. But with this mobile transformation, you have customers accessing different information, with different intent. A lot of research and a lot of discovery is happening and it’s all on the go.”

About 95% of retailers the NRF surveyed last month have mobile-optimized sites, and eight out of 10 give customers who are logged in the ability to save their cart between platforms.

In the battle of devices, mobile dominates desktop at a ratio of nearly 60-40, according to ComScore. To further complicate the matter, 88 percent of a user’s time is spent in apps when using a smartphone, and getting customers to download—and use—an app isn’t easy, suggests Siefo.

“From talking to larger, more established retailers, I think the challenge a lot of them did have was they were created in a different world,” said Craig Miller, chief marketing officer at Shopify. “A lot of them were struggling to just basically keep up. They were created in a time when people didn’t spend most of their lives on the internet, didn’t spend most of their lives on the phone, and so they are set up with legacy systems. They were set up with old ideas and a lot of them were just struggling to keep up and not even innovate. They were not even thinking of the next thing, which is mobile.”