Mobile ecommerce grew a stunning 45 percent year-over-year in the fourth quarter of 2016, and indicators point to continued growth in 2017. As shoppers become more obsessed with mobile, digital marketers need to put a special focus on understanding mobile app customers, leveraging location-based mobile marketing, engaging existing loyal customers, and more. As if that’s not enough to keep you busy, recent research from a Sailthru survey shows that email and mobile and poised for the biggest investments from marketers in 2017, and digital retailers still think there is lots of room for innovation in both.

What Marketers Can Expect From Mobile in 2017

For a look into how mobile marketing will unfold in 2017, CIO Magazine gathered input from digital marketers and analysts. They identified multiple mobile trends surrounding engagement, user experience, new technology and consumer data. Here are the high points:

  • Learn who your mobile customers are. Personalization’s role in mobile marketing will expand in the coming year, making it ever more critical to know customers beyond the devices and channels they use. Speaking to them as individuals regardless of medium requires a holistic customer profile, which marketers can acquire through identity resolution.
  • Engage customers through location-based data. Mobile devices, which go where consumers go, generate rafts of untapped contextual data about individuals. Location data is particularly powerful and can help marketers boost personalization by tracking when a promotion induces customers to visit a physical store, for example.
  • Focus on current app users because they are engaged users. App installs grew only six percent in 2016, which means chasing after large app audiences has become poor use of marketing resources. Instead, marketers should pay attention to the needs and habits of current app users because they represent a highly engaged, loyal audience that will contribute more to the bottom line.
  • New developments in augmented reality should be on marketers’ radars. Snap, Apple, and Microsoft are already building second-generation augmented reality tools and marketers should start thinking now about how augmented reality might disrupt their customer experience, advises Nicholas Kinports, executive vice president of strategy for social content agency Notice.

Email and Mobile Slated for Increase in 2017 Marketing Spending

In a recent survey, Sailthru asked retailers how they plan to be more innovative in their digital marketing efforts in 2017. The results show that together, mobile and email will play an important role for brands looking to change up channels and strategies.

Retailers expect mobile and email to generate the most sales in 2017, second only to online in general. To support this expectation, 38 percent of retailers said they plan to increase their spending on mobile marketing and 50 percent plan to increase their spending on email. Email is likely to be a focus of activity: 51 percent of those surveyed said that their was “lots of room” to innovate.

Of those surveyed, 56 percent expect these creative email efforts to successfully retain existing customers, in turn leading to higher sales.

Mobile Ecommerce Reaches 21 Percent of Online Sales

Mobile ecommerce growth outpaced that of desktop e-commerce in the last quarter of 2016, growing 45 percent year-over-year, reports comScore. (Desktop e-commerce grew 13 percent in the same time period.) In all, mobile purchases in the fourth quarter of 2016 contributed $22.7 billion to online sales.

That $22.7 billion represents about 21 percent of all online sales. In the last quarter of 2010, mobile’s share of online purchases was just four percent, but by the last quarter of 2015 it had grown to 17 percent. This steady, ongoing growth indicates that mobile-first ecommerce is the right strategy for engaging the modern consumer.

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