Home » How to Increase Mobile Sales for the 2017 Holiday Season

How to Increase Mobile Sales for the 2017 Holiday Season

Erin Azar
Erin Azar

The 2017 Holidays spell “opportunity” for mobile-first brands that can drive engagement, retention, and sales with timely push notifications and personalized SMS offers.


The holidays carry obvious opportunity for digital-driven, mobile-ready retail brands. If you’re anything like me, you (quite admittedly) rely on your mobile device to accomplish most of your daily tasks. When it comes to seasonal shopping, as with the majority of consumers, it begins and ends with my smartphone. 

Overall, 76% of Americans used mobile devices for holiday shopping in 2016. While holiday sales are expected to increase by 16% in 2017, those completed via mobile devices are expected to increase by 25%, PwC predicts.

But simply enabling a responsively-designed mobile website or having a mobile app or building in-app mobile pay options (which were turning heads just 7 to 9 years ago) is no longer enough.

To add to changing mobile technological capabilities, marketers find themselves caught in the middle of an evolving web of finicky online behavior being unwittingly spun by “mobile-assisted” consumers. “Mobile-assisted” shoppers constantly “showroom,” jump from one device to another, and decide, ad-hoc, to abandon one purchase in lieu of another.

While customer needs and preferences should greatly influence your mobile strategy, many B2C brands subsequently find themselves in the position of having to catch up, keep pace, or unfortunately, guess what customers want. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

The key: Use Cross-Channel Customer Data

Consumers are armed with a multitude of channels to research, price-compare, and purchase products. They will quickly hop off of your app to their tablet, desktop, or other device to research (or worse, purchase) an item on a competitor’s website with a more affordable price point.

Yet it’s precisely this proliferation of options that affords you the valuable cross-channel data they’re generating, and that’s your secret weapon. Driving engagement, retention, and sales during the Holidays starts with quality data.

In a digital landscape defined by greater technological chaos than ever, it will take a novel, calculated approach for mobile marketers to drive more sales in Q4.

In order to rise above the noise, you can leverage customer data in conjunction with the right marketing technology to:

  • Drive app downloads and initiate strategic in-app notifications
  • Personalize Holiday offers and send right-time push notifications to encourage engagement

Let’s talk about how you can capitalize on these trends to boost more sales than ever this Holiday season.

Increase Holiday App Downloads and Retain Year-Round Users

85% of shoppers prefer to make purchases on a retailer’s app than the mobile website. Conversion rates on apps are also 120% higher than on mobile-optimized web or desktop. However, an estimated one in four people download an app, use it once, then abandon it forever.

This phenomenon is common, for example:

  • In the travel industry – when infrequent flyers book and board a flight
  • With dating, social, or fitness-related apps – when users just want to “check it out,” typically uncertain of the app’s value, exact application, or usability
  • Around the holiday season – when people are looking to price match, use a discount, or try a business’ app for an easier one-time checkout

In order to combat this trend, ensure your app offers easy usability, a clean interface, and differentiated value for the user. Here’s three tips to increase app downloads and keep users from dashing.

1. Enable Social Media Authentication to Login 

According to LoginRadius, 80% of users dislike traditional sign-up forms and 73% prefer to log in using their social accounts. You’ll be more likely to get sign-ups, and inspire initial gratification among first-time users.

 2. Point Users to Download Your App in Every Piece of Marketing

Offer a clear CTA to download your app in everything you do: print ads, TV spots, email newsletters, landing pages, social ads, blog posts, your website, and more. It’s easy to provide a download icon and link to the App Store, yet something many B2C brands neglect to do. If there’s no gateway, how are people supposed to get in? Don’t count on them proactively seeking you out by searching themselves.

3. Reward Users Who Share the App with Tokens, Coins, or Credit

Creating new markets by spreading the word about your product or service is your job as a marketer, but that doesn’t mean it’s all up to you. Ask users to share your app with friends via text message, email, or social media, and offer them a reward for doing so (or upon successful sign-up by a friend).

Pro Tip: Enable personalized discounts or deals exclusively for app users, only accessible by downloading and using the app.

Send timely, Personalized SMS Messages and Push Notifications

Now that they’ve downloaded your app, it’s time to move them along to being loyal app users. Do this with personalized messaging: coupons, incentive offers, and promotions.

During November and December – when every other company is shooting out mass marketing aimed at everyone (but simultaneously, no one) – the more personalization you use, the better. Here’s three tips to connect with customers with right-time texts and notifications offering intensely-personalized offers.

1. Use Text Messaging to Send Holiday Related Short Codes and Coupon Codes 

Data from eMarketer reveals that more than 90% of people will redeem a coupon or code via their mobile device while shopping this year. Coupons were the most used tactic by mobile marketers last year:

Over the past two years, mobile coupon usage has spiked a combined 30%, and continues to rise. Nearly every (98%) SMS message is opened in the first minute, too, so texting is a great vehicle to send coupons.

Pro Tip: Use customer data to take it a step further. Use a customer’s name, refer to a past purchase, or give them information on the closest store for a personal touch.

2. Target Customers Based on Distinct In-App Behavior and Purchase History 

Mobile behavior tracking data will lend insight into how users are engaging with your app – what pages they’re looking at, what buttons they click, when they take certain actions, and when they bounce.

This is a picture-perfect opportunity to dazzle with personalized incentives that re-engage users at various stages within their app experience. In-app notifications can be set up to fire based on certain action-triggers, and can be automatically deployed as pop-ups, layovers, chat bubbles, “drop downs” and many other ways.

3. Deliver Time-Based or “Countdown” Push Notifications 

Push notifications are a fantastic way to target consumers with last-minute promotions, deals, and unique campaigns.

Countdown cadences or “deals-of-the-day” perform especially well around the Holiday season. These campaigns carry a certain “act now, or miss out” nuance that can be especially action-oriented when you need it most.

One well-known movie rental company, for example, used data-driven insights to pinpoint the exact right time to send push notifications to consumers to increase rentals 2X.

Over time, you can test which notifications have the best opt-in and response rates to make changes to the copy, CTA, or timing.


Mobile has recently reached a tipping point in the U.S. where more people are buying on mobile apps than in a browser or on a desktop computer. Mobile marketing has, always will be, about driving customer loyalty. The way in which marketers must forge loyal users is changing each day – the ubiquity of the mobile phone has fundamentally changed the dynamic of the business-consumer relationship.

The biggest challenge during the Holidays is delivering dazzling, individualized messages at the perfect time, to each of your users.

Retailers that understand how to drive app downloads, then engage with customers based on in-app behavioral data (with timely, personalized push notifications and SMS messages) can set themselves apart and potentially drive crazy revenue this upcoming Holiday season.

Related Articles:

→ Ready to dominate the Holidays across every channel including mobile? Grab the free guide for more actionable tips, insights and takeaways before Q4 hits!