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Mobile Moms and Back-to-School Path to Purchase

As back-to-school shopping lists grow bigger, so does the purchase funnel. To succeed in these mobile-driven times, marketers must create expanded content around their products, allow for easy conversion across multiple devices, and find new ways to deliver cost savings to consumers.

Marketers have typically used back-to-school advertising as a means to drive brand visibility and share of voice with consumers for their products. It’s as much about establishing mindshare inside the household as it is driving sales revenue, and the back-to-school shopping list has expanded. As a result, so has the purchase funnel.

The early fall is always a big season for retail, big box, and consumer packaged goods (CPG), but it’s also increasingly important for telecom/mobile and consumer electronics as more and more families invest in smartphones and other electronics for their children. This shopping list expansion happens at a time when the path-to-purchase is firmly centered around mobile and connected devices, with the on-the-go parent, mom, or household relying on their devices to discover, research, consider, and ultimately purchase on- or offline.

Gone are the days when families simply went to the nearest store to purchase all of their back-to-school needs. In today’s world with so many choices and resources, back-to-school shopping has become a multi-step process that involves multiple devices. The process begins with making an electronic shopping list, using the Web to discover items and see what other parents are buying, researching competitors’ offerings, comparing prices, and reading product reviews. It is important that marketers recognize this expanded purchase funnel and capitalize on providing value to consumers at each step in the process, and utilizing the sight, sound, and motion of video content is a golden opportunity to deliver that value: short, digestible videos that illustrate product functionality and differentiators are a great medium for winning conversions.

Those who succeed during these mobile-driven times and drive conversion and sales in today’s cross-platform environment do three things: create expanded content around their products, enabling consumers to easily research and compare items on-the-go; create ease of conversion across multiple devices; and deliver cost savings to clients in new ways.

Why Moms Love Mobile for Back-to-School

According to the IAB, 85 percent of moms agree that their smartphone has made the back-to-school season less stressful for them. Their mobile phones allow them to do the research necessary to feel confident in their purchase and it makes for easier shopping. The IAB reports that as the discovery process begins, 21 percent of moms use smartphones to build and check shopping lists. Then, one-fifth of moms use smartphones to shop online. One-quarter of moms use smartphones to find coupons/discounts, and then follow the path to local stores. We can easily see how the new path spans from mobile.

It doesn’t take much imagination to see the role that mobile plays during this shopping period. Mobile is the ideal medium for back-to-school: moms use it early in the process to find discounts, compare prices, browse for items in online stores, and to browse or research items on a retailer’s website before going to the store. Further, they tap mobile to locate the nearest stores, pull up online reviews, or activate the mobile wallet to pay for purchases, and finally, share socially what they bought. And of course to take photos on the first day of school and post them to social media and share with family and friends.

There are a couple of tactics that take advantage of the medium:

-Incentive offers in the form of discounts for watching videos is a win-win for branding and direct response

-Taking advantage of video plus rich media formats to execute interactive advertisements that drive to purchase page without a lot of redirecting

Tablets also play well within the new back-to-school process, allowing consumers to see a full 360-degree view of items or swipe to rotate or watch videos. Making back-to-school shopping easier for consumers, allowing them to fully leverage their mobile lifestyle and connected path to purchase, will keep them coming back, thus translating into long-term loyalty. TV is king and should be because there is no greater way to reach consumers efficiently at scale, but there is a lot of room for marketers to take advantage of the advertising outlets moving all around them.