Mobile can be a powerful connector. Retailers that combine a strong physical experience and online presence will strike gold.

Kia Saedi, regional sales director, West Coast at Adjust

With the shopping holidays over for another year, the analysis shows that the convenience of digital won out over in-store in many markets, including the United States.

According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), overall holiday sales grew 4.1% percent in 2019. And Adobe found that online shoppers spent $142.5 billion this holiday season, with smartphones driving 84% of that growth. Amazon’s insights into its top-selling products show consumers stocked up on everything from mascara to crockpots.

An eMarketer survey shows more evidence of the move to mobile shopping. More than 50% of respondents had used a mobile retail app to buy a product or service in the past month, and mobile conversions are growing faster than online shopping overall.

This can be a challenge for some brick-and-mortar retailers which, until recently, have placed a greater focus on in-store than online. For many, a physical presence is a huge part of brand DNA and appeal. But mobile can be a powerful connector. Today, the first touchpoint many shoppers have with a store or product is generally online.


It’s the retailers that combine a strong physical experience and online presence That will strike gold. So what are the best ways for retailers to crack mobile? Here are some tips:

Combine offline and online to boost brand loyalty 

As customers become channel-agnostic, they expect the same experience across every touchpoint. For retailers, that often means significant structural changes to make sure physical and digital objectives are aligned—whether that’s strengthening interdepartmental relationships or building entirely new teams.

Nordstrom, a major U.S. retailer, needs no convincing. It recently appointed its first-ever COO, Ken Worzel. One can read the move as a sign of seismic change inside the store and across the retail industry. According to Nordstrom, Worzel will be responsible for “overseeing and bringing together Nordstrom’s digital and physical assets to create an end-to-end experience for customers.”

At Nordstrom, breaking down silos between teams will be vital to combining all aspects of the business, both online and offline, to create a unified experience for customers. It’s an approach many retailers can benefit from, also at an operational level. While sales may not be very high in a particular shop, for example, data could show the same store drives a considerable amount of click and collect orders. Taking a holistic, data-driven approach, and knowing that every touchpoint is an opportunity to build meaningful relationships at scale, is key to building brand loyalty.

Use analytics to engage customers better 

Data is the single most significant advantage digital has over in-store, and these insights can enhance a brand’s entire business strategy. Mobile data has traditionally always been very siloed — but there’s a realization now that mobile is often a business’ closest touchpoint with its customers. Around the world, time spent in-app grew by 50% from 2016 to 2018, and this figure is sure to soar in the coming years.


With consumer demand for personalized content at an all-time high, data is also essential for creating mobile ads that will secure consumers’ initial interest. These ads can be based on demographic or psychographic data, previous activity (such as viewed items), or tailored to where customers are within the marketing funnel.

From there, analytics can also help determine which creative products and messages resonate best with customers — so brands can further iterate and refine campaigns.

Learn from brands that have successfully transitioned to mobile 

For brands that are starting on their mobile journey, it can look like an uphill battle. But there’s plenty of successful brick-and-mortar brands that have made the transition.

Abercrombie & Fitch is a key example. Its app has all the staples of a strong ecommerce app: a slick user experience, order tracking, store locator with the option to check if a particular item is in stock, and easy to navigate customer service options. It also gives shoppers diverse payment options through its Venmo and Klarna integrations.

Finally, the app is more than merely transaction-based, with functionality to save favorite items (separate from adding them to your basket), a membership club, and in-store playlists. This content is key to building brand affinity and gives users a reason to check back into the app — even if they don’t feel like shopping at that moment.


The strategy is paying off for the former mall stalwart. Abercrombie CEO Fran Horowitz stated last year that more than two-thirds of its digital traffic comes from mobile, and its app is the brand’s fastest-growing platform.

For traditional brick-and-mortar retailers, mobile gives them yet another way to reach and understand customers. And as the most personal and omnipresent channel, it can offer critical data on customer journeys, preferences and browsing habits. Combined with an outstanding store strategy, retailers can continue to thrive in a competitive marketplace.

Adjust specializes in mobile traffic monitoring, analytics and fraud prevention.