With consumers now using smartphones to price-check items both online and in-store before they commit to purchase, retailers have responded to this growing trend by integrating mobile into their marketing strategies. An article in Forbes noted “nearly 50% of consumers believe their personal mobile devices are more efficient than store associates in helping them make buying decisions.”

According to Google’s 2014 Holiday Shopper Intentions research report, “more than half of consumers surveyed said they’ll start their research before Thanksgiving, with 26% of shoppers starting before Halloween.” Wall Street Journal commented on Wal-Mart’s decision to spread ‘Black Friday’ Over Five Days, as “consumers accustomed to online convenience lose interest in lining up at night.”

Notably Target has attempted to address the issue with their introduction of a new mobile app designed to link products with store maps, where the “user builds a shopping list or uses a search bar to find products, then the aisle where a product is located is revealed.” According to AdWeek, the app represents Target’s attempt to ‘blur the line between online and physical stores’.

With the increased focus on mobile, this also gives retailers the opportunity to integrate social media ads optimised for mobile e-commerce. According to research from advertising technology company Spongecell, 75% of U.S. social media users who would interact with ads were most likely to do so with mobile ads on Facebook, compared with just 8 percent for Twitter and 6 percent for Pinterest” (via allfacebook.com). The research found only 10% of consumers find mobile ads personalized this holiday season.

With Facebook and Twitter’s new ‘buy’ buttons integrated into user newsfeeds and optimized for mobile, this will also give brands a direct avenue to drive sales through social media. MarketWatch commented “a strong mobile strategy will be the determining factor between this year’s retail winners and losers.” Retailers need to focus on a more comprehensive mobile strategy that goes beyond simply providing basic integrated checkout processes. This will require retailers to “meet their customers at all shopping channels, especially mobile, if they want to be competitive this season.”