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INDUSTRY REPORT 2019 Leading Vendors to the IR Top 1000 E-Retailers

Mobile Personalization Strategies That Drive More Sales

Mobile Personalization Strategies That Drive More Sales

Let’s begin with some facts on the current state of mobile usage:

  • As of today, there are over 2 billion people with smartphones worldwide. 1
  • 25% of Americans use only mobile devices to access the internet (as opposed to desktops). 2
  • 9 out of 10 mobile searches lead to action, over half leading to purchase.3
  • 79% of smartphone users use their phone to help with shopping, with 74% ultimately making a purchase as a result.4

Personalizing the mobile experience is not as difficult as you may think. The strategies we will outline below do not require any sophisticated personalization technology, but having a capable provider does alleviate some of the manual work involved.

These mobile strategies can transform your mobile experience from a generic to truly individualized, while increasing mobile sales all year round.

Must-Have Mobile Personalization Strategies

Search and Navigation

The search and navigation functionality is a crucial part of the mobile experience. Whether a shopper is searching for a specific product from a site or just browsing the navigation to see what’s available, both of those areas can benefit from personalization.

Visual Search – It is now fairly common to see type-ahead suggested terms as a shopper is typing letters into a search box as it helps with spelling correction and product discovery from a search perspective. Yet, we find that a lot of retailers are not utilizing this feature.

To help with product discovery, you can add in product recommendations based on the search term as well as suggested terms. This strategy helps with reducing the path to conversion by eliminating some steps of browsing through pages of search result by showing the most relevant products based on what you are searching.

Visual NavigationSimilar to Visual Search, you can also display top products or categories within the main navigation dropdown menu. For shoppers who are browsing categories, this will allow them to discover more products that they may not know existed based on the category they are browsing.

Personalized Content

As previously mentioned, most shoppers use their mobile device to do product research and comparison. This means that useful and personalized content is the key to driving engagement and loyalty. By showing relevant content such as videos or buying guides on key pages such as the homepage and product detail pages, you are able to engage more shoppers.

For example, if a shopper is on a product detail page for a pair of running shoes, you may want to show a buying guide for the best type of running shoes or a product video on that specific shoe. This will both engage the shopper on that specific product through the video, and also engage him through the buying guide which may lead to more product discovery.

These days, competing on price is not enough, as savvy consumers will do their research prior to making a purchase. Organizations that provide personalized and useful content as part of the shopping experience will have a great advantage, especially during the holidays.

Product Recommendations

Showing similar or related products is nothing new in personalization from a desktop site perspective. However, mobile gives an added dimension to the overall recommendation strategy.

Some mobile product recommendation strategies to consider:

Location: Show products based on location of the shopper. For example, a shopper from Southern California will see recommendations on beachwear, while a shopper from Chicago will see jackets and sweaters.

Weather: Show products based on weather predictions near the shopper’s location. For example, if rain is expected in the next 24 hours, recommend raincoats and other rain-related items.

Behavior: Analyze your mobile traffic patterns and find trends that are specific to mobile. If mobile shoppers tend to search for “black dresses”, display them prominently on the homepage.

Device type: iPhone shoppers may be different from Android shoppers. Be sure to look at patterns and trends in your analytics by device to determine the best strategy by device type. If an iPhone user is looking for accessories, only show those products that fit the iPhone.

Product Finder Tools

One unique way to differentiate your brand is having a product finder tool. The concept of a product finder is not new, however, the adaptation to mobile is.

A product finder tool is a series of questions that are presented to the shopper on the site to help them find the product they are looking for. The difference between a product finder and using a filter is the types of questions being asked.

For example, if you are looking for a pair of men’s black running shoes, you may browse or search for it. However, with product finder, questions that are being asks are usually non-product attribute related.

A product finder question is more along the lines of “Where do you like to run?” As you can see, that question is not related to a product, but the shopper himself, which makes the experience even more personalized. And because most people use their mobile phones to do research, this makes product finder the perfect tool for that task.

Location-based Notifications

91% of all U.S. citizens have their mobile device within reach 24/7.9

Major difference between mobile and desktop are that a mobile device is available in seconds and it’s always on.

Retailers should be taking advantage of this by offering content and products directly to their devices based on their location.

A couple of examples of location-based notifications:

Retailers with a store presence can send notifications to opt-in customers with specials and promotions whenever they are near a store location. If a person is eating at a restaurant near a shoe store he has bought from before, that retailer may want to send out a promotion for a new pair of sneakers or work shoes.

For retailers without a physical store presence, location and weather can be used to send notifications for specials or promotions that relate to that particular context. If a person is in Seattle and it’s raining, a retailer may want to send out a special coupon code for a jacket.

As you can see, by leveraging the device location of the shopper, you can actually bring brand engagement to the consumer instead of the other way around, which is crucial for brand awareness.


53% of emails are opened on mobile devices.10

The convenience of mobile devices has increased the frequency of email opens on phone and tablets over recent years. Now with over half of emails being opened on these devices, retailers need to be mindful of the experience that their customer are having.

The first and most obvious element to look at is the email itself. Make sure that the email is both mobile and desktop friendly so no matter where or when the email is opened, it is crisp and clear from both text and image perspective.

From a content perspective, make sure the marketing message or offer is relevant to the recipient.

According to Aberdeen Research, personalized email messages improve click-through rates by an average of 14% and conversions by 10%.11

This should not be a surprise, as we all get tons of emails every day and the only way to gain interest is with personalization.

Retailers need to carefully segment and target their customers individually if they want to increase that engagement through email.

By leveraging behavioral and profile data, retailers can send personalized emails based on web or mobile shopping behavior as well as purchase behavior from both online and offline channels.

The evolution of mobile devices has dramatically changed the way consumers shop and engage with brands. These are just a few strategies you can employ right away to start improving engagement and boosting sales from your mobile channel. Get ahead of your competition and start thinking about how to implement these strategies now!

Learn more about mobile commerce personalization.

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE: Leveraging Mobile as a Gateway to Omnichannel Retail


  1. http://www.statista.com/statistics/330695/number-of-smartphone-users-worldwide/
  2. http://www.gomonews.com/mobile-web-growth-1-in-5-internet-users-dont-use-a-computer/
  3. http://searchengineland.com/google-50-percent-of-smartphone-users-exposed-to-ads-took-action-74760
  4. http://searchengineland.com/google-50-percent-of-smartphone-users-exposed-to-ads-took-action-74760
  5. http://www.mobilecommercedaily.com/retailers-lack-of-mobile-personalization-leads-to-commerce-downfalls-report
  6. http://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/global/Documents/Consumer-Business/gx-cb-global-digital-divide.pdf
  7. http://www.marketingcharts.com/online/whats-mobiles-influence-in-store-65972/
  8. http://www.emarketer.com/Article/Outta-Town-PCs-Mobile-Takes-Over-Local-Search-Volume/1012543
  9. https://www.cmocouncil.org/facts-stats-categories.php?view=all&category=mobile-marketing
  10. https://www.campaignmonitor.com/resources/guides/email-marketing-new-rules/
  11. http://www.aberdeen.com/research/7635/ra-social-media-marketing/content.aspx