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GUEST OPINION 7 top tips to get your retail app ready for Christmas

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Are you ready for Christmas? New Year? Post New Year? As any seasoned product and marketing manager knows, running campaigns that align to consumer trends and seasonality is the way to be relevant at a time of year when users have a lot else going on. Here, Lynn Wang from Apptimize, offers her top 7 tips that will help you better leverage your mobile app to create a great seasonal marketing strategy for your retail or e-commerce app.

1) Refresh your app with holiday creative

Studies show that an app with updated Christmas, Thanksgiving, New Years, messaging and creative can receive a 129% increase in session time on Android and 24% lift on iOS. Customers want to feel that your app is the right one for them at the right time. Updating your app especially for the Christmas (and January) can really help users engage more.

But don’t just stop with one set of Christmas messaging and images. While November-December has become a big retail season globally, different geographies and cultures celebrate different holidays or celebrate the same holidays differently. Create targeted messages for specific customers.

Also remember to change your messaging throughout the season. Talk about Black Friday near Black Friday, last minute deals near Christmas, and post season deals in January.

2) Optimize user flows BEFORE the shopping season

Whether you manage a retail app that’s looking to maximize revenues during the shopping season or any other app that’s looking for the jolt in downloads, optimizing your user flows before the shopping season will help you capture more of the Christmas burst of activity for actual gain. The last thing you want is to find out in January that a small tweak to the login screen could have helped you capture more users.

A/B testing is a great way to optimize the user experience. Here are some great ideas on what to A/B test to improve your users flows for retail:

See the full infographic here

3) Pay special attention to your new user flow

Even if your primary goal during the holiday season is to maximize revenues, expect that a lot more people are downloading your app during this time. Make sure that your new user experience is enticing users to engage and keep on coming back.

The best way to do this is to A/B your new user flows while tracking:
- 1, 7, and 14 day retention
- login rates
- screens viewed in a session
- session times
- revenue metrics.

A/B test your home screen:
Test the holiday creative from tip #1. Try different angles to holiday messaging. For example, test “We have the perfect gift for Mom” against “Take a break and treat yourself to something.”

Test when to prompt users to log in and which combination of registration options most increases their changes of actually signing up.
And test any onboarding tutorials or flows that you may have.

4) Give users the offers they want IMMEDIATELY

Use behaviors to predict that your customer is looking for. For example, below is the home screen of Nordstrom’s app.

A typical behavior is to go to the category I think is best suited for me. So I click on women, then shoes. I browse around for a while and then I decide to check out sales. Now that the app knows that I’m looking for women’s shoes, a really smart app will start showing me deals on women’s shoes.

Alternatively, if I go to recommendations first and click on a shoe, the app can should use my expressed interest to show me similar items when I’m in a different section.

5) Use what you know about your customer to send better messages

A lot of retail stores ask for gender when signing up. Here is Nordstrom’s app’s signin page.

Many retailers have this a substantial amount of information about their customers but don’t use it in the context of the app. This is typically because connecting information from your servers to the app can be hard. But if you can make this work, you can create custom messages for customers based on the information you have about them. Send women in Miami ironic messages about getting ready for a freezing winter while showing them images of bikinis. Give men in Minneapolis prompts to buy last minute snow gear.

6) Make the images link to that item

My personal pet peeve is clicking on an ad because the image they used was of something I liked and then not actually being able to find that item. This is an easy problem to solve for. Simply use a deeplink that connects the ad to a specific item on your site. If your users is on a mobile device, the site should prompt him/her to see the item in your app.

Yelp does a great job of this:

7) Be flexible and competitive during the holidays

Amazon is constantly testing different prices all the time. This ramps up even more during the holidays. Amazon tests its pricing to stay competitive in the moment.

Pricing changes can be difficult to do because of Apple’s rules, but you can still stay agile and react to your competition’s promotions. Last Mother’s Day, we had a customer who was running a sale in their e-commerce app. Two days before the big day, their team found out that a competitor was running a nearly identical deal but a lower price point.

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