Retailers’ Mobile Marketing Report Card

Thursday 02nd, January 2014

Mobile marketing is increasingly becoming a priority for businesses around the world. In this post, we examine how retailers are leveraging the device to their advantage

Retailers have had a rough couple of years. With the proliferation of mobile devices and constant connectivity, more and more consumers are finding it easier not to spend time and effort in visiting conventional brick-and-mortar stores to find what they need. What’s more, shopping online is providing consumers with much better deals. Showrooming has become a very common practice. As a consequence, retailers have been forced to rethink their mobile marketing strategies to keep up with their digitally savvy consumers.

Many retailers have gone big and adopted impressive digital and mobile marketing strategies to keep afloat. For instance, Walgreens acquired 72 million loyalty members in nine months using an omni-channel approach combining digital and mobile marketing techniques. While there is no dearth of options in mobile marketing to choose from, here are examples of few brands that have successfully deployed mobile marketing programs.

Mobile marketing tactics

Location based advertising

McDonald’s ran a Foursquare-centric campaign where they randomly rewarded 100 people who had checked in on Foursquare from any one of their outlets. As word of the campaign got around, it generated more buzz. Final outcome of the campaign was 40% increase in check-ins, 99% positive feedback on media and 600,000 new followers on social media.

SMS marketing

Prominent sports footwear brand Reebok wanted to promote their NBA merchandise and improve footfalls in their stores. So they launched a unique SMS campaign that was integrated with an interactive voice response program. The SMSes sent to opted-in male sports fans contained a tollfree phone number which when called had a recorded message from NBA star Kenyon Martin describing Reebok’s NBA merchandise. Through intuitive voice prompts, the callers could receive location details of the nearest store. The campaign brought significant increase in store traffic and sales.

Mobile advertising:

Dunkin Donuts launched a campaign in Boston where they ran over 40000 targeted mobile banner ads over the course of a month. The campaign promoted a significant discount on lattes. This was supplemented by radio advertising as well. The campaign resulted in 21% increase in footfalls and 7500 new contacts in the mobile opt-in list.

QR code marketing

Ketchup giant Heinz ran a mobile marketing campaign using QR codes where they featured QR codes on their bottles in restaurants. When consumers scanned the code, they were provided information about Heinz’s environmentally friendly packaging. They also got opportunities to win rewards if they answered one environmental question right. More than 1 million consumers scanned these codes according to Heinz.


Reebok was planning to launch their new product called HexRide line of shoes with HexRide technology which was meant to assist runners. In order to build anticipation prior to the launch, Reebok created an interactive mobile game which could be downloaded and used to simulate the running experience. Around 33% of those who clicked on Reebok’s banner ad for the same, downloaded the game. A significant number also connected with their friends through game invites.

Despite these encouraging examples, recent studies show that retailers are focusing on mobile devices mostly to drive loyalty programs, when they could easily be leveraging transactions with the same. They need to have a balanced combination of mobile marketing tactics that not only improve engagement and loyalty but also result in an increased number of transactions.



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