Trenton Moss is founder and commercial director at Webcredible
Although mobile users frequently browse the internet during their free time, it is unlikely that they will complete more expensive purchases such as holidays via their handsets.
For this reason, travel businesses need to remind users of what they were looking at, at a later date.
Research has shown that consumers will likely complete their booking if prompted once they are back in front of a laptop or PC, as these are mediums where they can take their time, evaluate purchases in more detail and often feel safer when paying.
First of all, it’s crucial to set up a travel retail operation which seamlessly combines all channels consumers shop across.
We’ve all seen reports of the huge numbers of people that use smartphones every day for email, social, directions, shopping and browsing on the go.
But how can travel brands take advantage of these numbers, and turn mobile daydreamers into customers?
Consider the typical scenario: a consumer waits at a bus stop, sits on the train on the way to work or kills time in a coffee shop.
Out comes their mobile phone and they begin looking at various holiday offers.
It will have taken a great deal of effort for a travel brand to get these offers into the consumer’s browsing path, be it via email marketing, mobile advertising or search.
But in all likelihood, the holiday dream will end there.
The fact is, mobile users tend to save purchasing ‘luxury’ items like holidays for when they’re sitting in front of a computer.
Reasons for this include connectivity, payment security issues and screen size, as well as the simple lack of time inherent in m-browsing.
Time spent browsing on a mobile tends to be limited, and so purchases must be quick and easy to complete.
Crucially, there is usually a level of ‘further research’ that must be carried out before booking a holiday – consulting with others often sways the final decision.
So what actions can be taken to ensure these mobile daydreamers become paying customers?
So travel firms should follow up with direct, personalised contact. Don’t be afraid to contact your customers to remind them of that daydream they had earlier.
Following up using a different medium. For example, an email after a mobile browsing session is an effective way to remind people of what they found, and to encourage them to make a purchase decision.
At this point, providing more supporting information is key: price comparison, holiday provider details and testimonials are all good aspects to highlight, to ensure the customer has everything they need to hit ‘go’.
Some ways to do this include ‘save for later’ functions, ’email to a friend’ (or yourself) functions or a ‘log-in’ prompt.
It’s worth giving it some thought and being creative, so you choose the best follow-up method for each consumer. Take note of their browsing habits and which devices they visit your site from.
Make your mobile proposition part of a multi-channel strategy.
An important part of following up is giving the option of using a different medium; allowing consumers to interact with your brand in any way they want to.
This is where your multi-channel (or ultimately omni-channel, where all channels act as one) strategy comes into play.
Here, you need to design and co-ordinate your digital platforms to support the entire consumer lifecycle.
If this is done properly, consumers get the same experience and information from the website as they do from the call centre, and the information can be shared between mobile, PC and tablet effortlessly.
It also means that an offer via Twitter can be redeemed just as easily on a mobile site as it can on a desktop computer.
The key when developing a mobile proposition or any customer touchpoint is that the information, services and experience the consumer gets the first time they interact with your brand must be delivered consistently through all channels for full impact.
The ultimate goal is to get consumers to daydream about a brand during their mobile window-shopping sessions.
Then, remind them of their daydream and support their further holiday research and share this information across multiple platforms.
Finally, ensure they can easily purchase their holiday using whatever platform they want to even though it probably won’t be booked by mobile.