3 Real-Life Challenges that Require Evolving Your Mobile Data Strategy

April 23, 2019 Lisa Szkatulski

3 Real-Life Challenges that Require Evolving Your Mobile Data Strategy

At Vibes we’re 100% focused on helping marketers like you harness the power of mobile to create meaningful customer connections that inspire action. But what does that mean?

In this article, our Associate Director of Strategy, Lisa Szkatulski, will walk us through three case studies that demonstrate how an evolving mobile data strategy is key for brands to interrupt human day-to-day behavior, increasing mobile interaction and consumption from shoppers without interrupting the shopper mission.


At Vibes, we say that we exist to connect people to the brands they love; to that end, we’re always trying to think of new, contextual ways for our clients to interact with consumers so the consumers can get their needs met as simply as possible.

What this means for your mobile marketing program is that you need to start observing the shopper journey and approach the program with a “help us help you” approach to determine what types of segmentation are most meaningful to you.  Age, engagement, or average order size are all good places to start—but if daypart or shopping category will help you make better business decisions, by all means prioritize those factors. Ideally you’ll get to the point where you can address individuals with their first name, and for example, your new breakfast sandwich vs. your new lunch soup option (daypart).

Start with the basics—can you confirm that your mobile shopper is the same as your average shopper? Are they higher value? More engaged? While we can create consumer groups, each consumer wants to be seen as one-of-a-kind; personalized content is a goal that can be achieved by paying attention to how they interact with your brand.

It’s essential to be open, creative, and empathetic to pursue the answers your shoppers are able to provide; from different experiences we can yield different types of data. In the following mini case studies, we’ll show how we began with an observation to identify and consider what problems we’d like to try solving. And once we had the question, we were able to think of various ways to go about finding the right answer from the data—the observations we made from what we collected directly informed how we updated, evolved, and optimized our clients’ programs to be even more personalized to the shopper experience.

CASE STUDY 1: Apparel retailer needed help with IRL cart abandonment.

During a holiday season one of our retail clients mentioned in a status call their frustration with shoppers getting sick of the long holiday lines, walking away from carts in-store and taking their purchase intent with them—leaving behind a real mess.

We wondered: how can mobile support this consumer pain point, and keep shoppers entertained while they wait to finish their shopping trip? Our solution was simple and reliable—to the point that it became part of our core mobile offering to all our clients.

We made a word scramble that shoppers could reach by texting a keyword to the retailer’s short code, eliciting a triggered response link that led to a mobile experience. From there, the shopper had a game to play, and an offer to redeem that was good for that very trip (enticing them to stick around even more). The program was promoted with freestanding signage, signs at point of sale, and was introduced to shoppers by the store associates managing the line.

You can text SOLUTIONS to 84237 to experience the word scramble game for yourself, right now.

Key takeaway:

Abandonment went down and holiday sales increased—and we learned a valuable lesson about engaging customers in passive moments in-store. Since then, we’ve made a point of harnessing those passive in-store moments whenever possible. Dressing rooms, aisle endcaps, and even floor decals are all under consideration, depending on the retail vertical.

CASE STUDY 2: Auto retailer wanted to engage shoppers in the waiting room during oil change.

Some auto part stores send shoppers down the aisles while they wait—but many have waiting rooms for people to sit and “put their feet up” while their oil is being changed. Those folks are missing out on all the in-store calls to action that we’ve worked so hard to produce. How can we engage with these shoppers?

The answer was right in front of us: the wi-fi. Every waiting room is filled with shoppers on their phones, trying to pass the time with a little fun. The key here was that they weren’t typically trying to get chores done… they didn’t really know how long they would be stuck there and were mostly browsing for some easy entertainment.

We built a wi-fi gate that included a mobile opt-in opportunity and incentivized quizlet to give shoppers something to do. This way, we were able to collect their phone number, enroll them in SMS updates, offer a coupon, and even learn a little bit about what they liked about the brand, thanks to a fun quiz that played with the brand assets and brand history.

Key Takeaway:

We were able to engage shoppers on a nontraditional walking path in-store who were able to skip the aisles—and did it in a way that was non-intrusive to their unique shopper journey. It became one of the greatest acquisition points for the auto retailer and broadened our definition of retailers’ passive moments.

CASE STUDY 3: A sports retailer needs to know who’s really pulling the purse strings.

We track all kinds of data at Vibes, but sometimes we need to dig deeper to understand a particular campaign or marketing initiative. When, for example, a sports retailer carries high-end, low-end, and team sports equipment, it can be hard to tell who is driving the shopping experience and how to target them. Do we address mom? Her student athlete? Both? How and when?

Vibes created and hosted a type of light preference center that shoppers could explore and declare their style alignment; with account authentication, visitors could indicate their gender, who they shopped for, and what personas they found the most interesting from a collection spanning five workout levels, each with corresponding, shoppable style elements. 

Shoppers enrolled by texting a keyword to the retailer short code to receive the link to the experience; the keyword call to action was placed on in-store signage, on direct mail, and was shared by store associates. For the duration of the promotion, shoppers indicated their preferences, which were then stored on their unique records in the Vibes Mobile Engagement Platform.

Key Takeaway:

From this experience, we could more effectively personalize messages to those shoppers that more closely reflected their personal tastes and their role in the shopping experience as the primary decision maker, or someone shopping on behalf of one.


  • Start with a narrow question and based on the question figure out what data would be required to answer that question.
  • Think of ways you can create engaging, yet easy to build, experiences that have elements of problem solving for the shopper and data collection for your brand.
  • Keep the barriers to data collection entry low: no extraneous fields or forms.
  • Store the collected data in a mobile engagement platform, like the Vibes platform, where data can be tracked and segmented for future use.
  • Track click-through rates, completion rates, and purchase data, which lets you prove the ROI of the programs.
  • Use the stored data to continue to segment and personalize content for shoppers.

When working with Vibes, the data collected from mobile experiences is all stored in-platform—but can also be shared with your other integrated vendors. This means that you can both have your mobile consumer cake and compare it to your other channel metrics as well.

About the Author

Lisa Szkatulski

Lisa Szkatulski is an Associate Director of Strategy at Vibes. She’s passionate about consumer insight, culture and subcultures, and exploring what we do with technology in our everyday choices. She has fifteen years of experience in marketing, and also serves on the board of EPIC, a nonprofit that empowers creative people to make social change happen in Chicago.

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