With 2017 quickly nearing, it’s time to take the pulse of the industry to see what mobile marketers will be planning as the new year approaches. 2016 saw everything from chatbots, mobile video, location-based marketing, artificial intelligence, and even Pokémon Go. What are marketers thinking as they plan for 2017?

Coupons, Coupons, Coupons

Retail marketers will be focusing on coupon delivery in 2017. Studies have shown that 40% of consumers don’t make a purchase simply because they left their coupon at home. Mobile-enabled coupon delivery eliminates this obstacle. Additionally, many consumers say that these mobile couponing programs actually motivate them to make purchases more often. Mobile coupons have been seen to increase redemption as much as 10X over their print at home counterparts.

Mobilizing these coupon programs is essential to capturing the all-important millennial shopper, who will spend more than $200 billion annually starting in 2017, according to an article in Advertising Age. Winning this demographic is crucial to any retailer’s strategy – and they are not clipping paper coupons.

Mobile Wallet – Not Just Payments

Although still relatively nascent, mobile wallet as both a payment option and a marketing tool is gaining traction quickly and will continue to grow in 2017 as more consumers become comfortable with the technology and realize the convenience it offers.

Mobile wallet marketing allows a brand’s perpetual presence on the consumer’s device – either by downloading coupons or digitizing a physical loyalty card. Mobile wallet also enables location detection in order to send relevant messages at the exact moment of need. Brands who have adopted this technology early are reaping the benefits including increased foot traffic and sales as a result of the unique features of mobile wallet like location-based reminders.

Going Beyond The App

Apps remain a key component of a retailer’s strategy, but brands can’t ignore the fact that 80% of app engagement is centered around just 5 apps. While apps engage the loyalists, a broader strategy is needed to reach and communicate with those customers that will never download the app.

There are a few ways brands are intersecting their app strategy with more universal channels. For example, SMS messaging is seeing a renaissance as a way to compliment a brands app strategy. Considering that nearly all of today’s phones have the capability to send and receive text messages and that 90% of text messages are read within the first 5 minutes, SMS continues to be the most ubiquitous and engaging channel at a marketer’s disposal. Supplementing a brand’s app strategy with SMS can reach more consumers outside of those with just the app. In addition to traditional messaging, mobile wallet is establishing itself as a lightweight and interactive way to reach more consumers than just the app alone. While it may be ideal to have all consumers download and engage with a brand’s app, the reality is that marketers will need to implement additional technologies to reach a majority of consumers, and SMS and wallet can be a great place to start.

Challenges Will Remain

For many brands, IT skillset and integration resources remain the major road block that is preventing them from implementing a new mobile marketing strategy. 26% of marketers polled in a recent survey said that available IT resources will most likely prevent them from making more investments in mobile in 2017, compared to 17% who cited budget constraints. As the consumer’s appetite for mobile experiences continues to outpace brands’ ability to deliver, this roadblock becomes critical to solve.

What’s First on the 2017 Agenda?

The best way for brands to position themselves with these new mobile trends is to test and learn. Measure everything and see what resonates with your customer. Start small in a few stores or geographic area. Mobile wallet coupons, for example, work with existing coupons and can be delivered through any channel a retailer may use – email, digital ads, social media – making for a simple way to start without adding constraints on valuable IT resources. In addition, Mobile provides rich, real-time data which enables marketers to make campaign modifications nearly “on the fly”. There are many ways to get a mobile program up and running quickly, so don’t sit on the sidelines and let your competition pass you by. Having even a small mobile presence is better than having none at all.