How to Win the Holidays with These Essential Mobile Tips

The holiday season is upon us, and it’s time to get mobile-ready for the biggest shopping storm of the year. There’s a lot brands need to do to prepare, from onboarding new users to delivering effective push notifications. Below, we lay out the steps that everyone — including, retail, travel, and media — can take to rake in the most holiday revenue.

Holiday-Proof Your Mobile App with These Essential Tips

Death to the Stock Photo

The Holiday Facts

Google’s survey on the 2015 holiday shopping season provides some valuable insights. The report says:

“If the idea of shopping on your phone while waiting for your morning coffee sounds familiar, you’re not alone. This holiday season, shopping moments will replace shopping marathons. Rather than rely on day-long mall marathons Black Friday weekend, shoppers are now turning to their mobile phones at hundreds of micro-moments throughout the day, all season long.”

And there are some pretty powerful statistics that marketers should heed. Of the holiday shoppers surveyed:

  • 54% plan to shop on their smartphones during spare moments in the day
  • 52% plan to use a smartphone for shopping before they visit a store
  • 82% will consult their smartphone while inside a store

This year, more purchases than ever will be mobile-first. But even if a sale takes place outside of mobile, chances are high that a shopper will have first researched reviews or compared items using mobile.

Why Many Marketers Aren’t Mobile-First

With mobile sales outpacing desktop, it’s no longer true that marketers aren’t mobile-first because they’re slow to adapt. It’s that many marketers just aren’t sure of the best way to utilize mobile. There’s still a gray area where marketers want to know how often to message users, or the best times to send push notifications. A common myth I’ve heard from brands:

“Sending push notifications will annoy users and drive them to uninstall my app.”

This is only true when your message is irrelevant to your users. Think strategically about the messaging you would want to see this holiday season. Then, apply that to your mobile marketing automation strategy.

How to Leverage Mobile In-Store and Online

Here are a few ways we’ve seen customers find success with the benefits mobile marketing automation.


By harnessing location sensing, brands can target customers when they’re nearby a brick-and-mortar location. When they are close, analyze their purchase history to suggest items they might like inside the store. Brands can also take advantage of personalization to eliminate shopping cart abandonment. Delve into a user’s past behavior to send personalized messages with the user’s name and forgotten items. Once the user is back inside the app, improve their experience by A/B testing multiple elements. Not sure where to start? Try testing the color and verbiage of the buy button.


Retail apps aren’t the only ones that should ramp up for the holidays. After all, a handful of the biggest travel days throughout the year fall in the last two months. When a user books a flight, a travel app’s mission to engage and re-engage is only beginning. In the days leading up to departure, send push notifications with weather updates to help them pack. The day of, utilize location sensing to know when a traveler has reached the airport, and send messages with gate changes. Once the user lands, you can push curated content that will help them get the most of their trip.


With all the idle time away from work during the holidays, entertainment and media apps see a huge increase in traffic. Mobile games have notoriously reaped the benefits of this, with mobile game downloads skyrocketing around Thanksgiving. Media apps of all varieties should prepare for the influx of new users by optimizing their onboarding. Leverage a feature that sends a pre-permissions message, essentially giving apps a second chance to ask for push permissions. This is critical in ensuring apps can engage their users over their entire lifespan. Once users are up to speed, send push notifications around content discovery. By reading real-time analytics, you can discern what new content users will enjoy. Send personalized notifications with suggestions to keep user retention high. Once users are inside your app, make sure you’ve optimized the funnel so they have a positive experience. A/B test new features, and send in-app messages that explain how to use each new element within your app.

The Takeaway

Mobile marketing automation involves the full lifecycle of your customer’s experience inside your app. From personalized messaging to A/B testing, it’s all about building a relationship with your customers. Optimize their experience and you’ll maximize your conversions. Want to learn more? Last year’s holiday shopping guide contains everything you need to deliver mobile app checkouts.

Download Leanplum's holiday guide