Las Vegas -- Weathering the storm of the digital revolution has been a major focal point here at the National Hardware Show thus far, where opting out is hardly on the table. Especially driving this point home were FunMobility's Pat Murphy; Linda Roark of Pete's Ace Hardware in Castro, California; and Jodie Larson of Brentwood Ace Hardware.
In a seminar titled "Using Mobile to Drive Real Business Results," the three discussed their own successes with FunMobility's mobile marketing campaign and the importance of the smartphone in today's retail landscape.
"Sending emails doesn't count," said Murphy. "We're not talking about a mobile app today. You don't need a mobile app."
Roark, whose average basket size increased by 411% after her first mobile coupon campaign, stressed that marketing to consumers on their cellphones is worth the time and investment, even if one is merely targeting the same set of customers who already shop at one's store.
The panel also discussed the many things that set mobile apart from other technologies -- such as the unusually quick rate at which it was adopted, and that people handle their phones on an average of 150 to 200 times a day. Two-thirds of consumers own smartphones today -- that's a jump of 44% since 2011. Additionally, 97% of mobile messages are read, versus 20% of emails. Most -- 84% -- of customers use their devices during a shopping trip, and 22% send more as a result.
In an aging industry, especially, Roark discussed the importance of capturing younger customers.
"I had to find that younger consumer and get them walking through the doors of my store," she said. "It's like a paper coupon, but it's always with you on your mobile device. So I don't have customers any longer saying, 'Oh, I left my coupon at home.' "
Among the most important bits of advice? Build a mobile opt-in loyalty list. As Murphy explained, customers typically only join one list per vertical, and it's worthwhile to be the first hardware store in town asking customers to join.