Growth in smartphone and social media usage is setting the basis for all types of retail marketing trends. In this report, we'll look at individual trends within mobile and social media. For example, we'll analyze how devices and platforms are used as consumer touch points for retailers and measure the return on investment of social channels. We'll also look at how beacons — in-store devices that wirelessly beam promotions to a consumer's handheld device — are driving shopping interactions on smartphones. We'll also examine the role of affiliate marketing within retail.

1. Smartphones are already the leading consumer touch point for retailers 

An increase in consumer smartphone usage is having a significant impact on retail marketing trends.

  • 60% of US consumers' time spent interacting with retailers online now occurs on mobile devices, according to comScore. That's up from 53% two years ago. 

Moreover, time spent interacting with retailers via smartphones is growing at a much faster rate than on other devices. Interaction with retailers on smartphones increased 98% between 2013 and 2015. On tablets it increased 55% during the same period, and on desktop it increased just 38%. 

bii mobile shopping time spend5BI Intelligence

 2. Expect an uptick in shopping app usage 

US consumers are spending the majority of their time in shopping apps as opposed to on mobile shopping websites, according to comScore. In response, Apple recently launched a new category in its App Store called "Shopping," which makes it easier for users to find retailers' apps. Apps found in this category include those for e-commerce, omni-channel commerce, auctions, price comparison, and product reviews. These apps were previously harder to find since they were folded into the "Lifestyle" section, which also included apps related to dating and nightlife. 

  • Creating a dedicated section for retail apps is a huge benefit for brands that are looking to boost mobile app engagement, as searching the App Store is the No. 1 way users discover new apps, according to comScore.

Apps are already playing a big role in shopping; 44% of e-commerce [...]