Converting Social Media Engagement on Mobile into In-store Sales

Consumers and FMCG brands increasingly interact on social media using their smartphones, but converting this engagement into product trial is easier said than done. Can brands use ‘mobile coupons’ to bridge the gap between awareness and action?

The UK is a smartphone society: according to communications regulator OFCOM, two thirds of UK consumers use their mobile device for nearly two hours every day [i]. And social media has become a near obsession, with UK consumers spending 1.5 hours per day interacting with social media [ii]. Increasingly, they are choosing to do this using their mobile phone: 75% of 16-35 year olds who go online to look at social media sites or apps say they mostly use a smartphone to do so [iii].

Engaging Consumers on their Terms

Unsurprisingly, more and more of an FMCG brand’s engagement with its consumers is taking place on social media, with the number of organisations looking to spend more than 20% of their total advertising budgets on social media almost tripling year-on-year (38% in 2015 compared to 13% the previous year).

And brand activity now extends far beyond advertising with brands taking advantage of social media’s flexibility to deliver customer service, promote social sharing or advocacy or reward engagement and trial. In fact, getting access to offers or competitions is the main reason why two thirds of consumers engage with companies over social media [iv].

This investment of money, time and energy has meant that those online adults aged 18-34 that follow a brand are overwhelmingly likely to do so using social networking (95%) [v].

A Mixed Blessing

This rise to primacy of the mobile device is a mixed blessing for brands: on one hand, smartphones offer the immediacy, intimacy and engagement with consumers that brands crave; yet, on the other, it is proving very hard to demonstrate ROI on the mobile channel. One of the biggest challenges FMCG brands face is the fact that social media engagement occurs online but fulfilment invariably takes place offline in a physical retail environment: attributing in-store behaviour to online engagement (whether on mobile or any other device) is therefore essential to gain an accurate assessment of ROI.

So, what is a brand manager to do?

Can Brands use ‘Mobile Coupons’?

Digital coupons have played – and continue to play – an important role in closing this loop for FMCG brands across other devices, providing a strong call to action to the consumer in the form of a discount, while tracking tools enable clear attribution of digital engagement to in-store purchase.

However, when it comes to mobile engagement, the UK lacks a uniform mobile couponing ecosystem that enables the processing and clearing of mobile coupons right across the trade – with individual stores investing instead in their own mobile initiatives as part of their loyalty marketing efforts.

As an alternative, ‘mobile cashback’ is filling the void at the heart of mobile marketing; extending the benefits of digital coupons into the world of the smartphone and operating retailer agnostically. Clicking on a social media posting takes the consumer to an ‘offer’ page that explains the promotion and how to redeem it: this is done very simply by taking a picture of the receipt, submitting it via your phone back to the brand / mobile cashback provider and receiving money back.

Filling the Void

Mobile cashback is an important weapon in the armoury of brand marketers. This technology allows brands to encourage consumers through the sales funnel from engagement to purchase – and to have clear visibility of the activity that brought them there. It’s not too grand a claim to say that this really is FMCG mobile marketing’s missing link.

To try out how mobile cashback works, download Shopmium from the Google or Apple app stores, choose a product you’d like to try and submit your receipt. Mobile cashback can be integrated into any brand’s own digital & social channels.

[i]  http://media.ofcom.org.uk/news/2015/cmr-uk-2015/

[ii]  http://www.statista.com/statistics/270229/usage-duration-of-social-networks-by-country/

[iii]  http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/binaries/research/media-literacy/adults-literacy-2016/2016-Adults-media-use-and-attitudes.pdf

[iv]  http://www.rosemcgrory.co.uk/2016/01/04/social-media-statistics-2016/

[v]  http://www.dreamgrow.com/21-social-media-marketing-statistics/

Quotient Technology (formerly Coupons.com) is a leading digital promotions and media platform that connects FMCG brands, retailers and consumers. We have recently launched Shopmium in the UK, a mobile-first proposition that enables FMCG brands to win on mobile. Give me a call on +44 (0) 208 865 1999 or send an email to ssankey@quotient.com.

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About the author

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Stuart Sankey

European Sales Director

Passionate about promotions. I have over 15 years’ experience of thinking up, selling in, creating and delivering promotional campaigns and strategies right across the world in multiple industries. Although my focus now is on the FMCG...Read more

+ 44 (0) 20 8 865 1999