Mobile has risen up the ranks during the course of the pandemic, to take the top spot over email as European shoppers’ preferred choice of communication from brands and retailers during their omnichannel buying journeys, the latest research from insights-led customer engagement platform, MoEngage, revealed.

Original research of 1,000 shoppers by MoEngage in its latest Personalisation Pulse Check Report shows that pre-pandemic, a third (32%) of consumers ranked email as their preferred way to communicate with retailers and brands.  As the pandemic has eased, 20% now cite email communications as their preferred engagement method, compared to 22% who said mobile was their top choice, rising +9 percentage points higher than compared to pre-covid levels.

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Demand for brand engagement via social platforms from shoppers also increased by +5 percentage points compared to pre-pandemic levels, rising to 19% of consumers who said social media interaction was their preferred medium to communicate with brands.

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With retail analyst Gartner estimating that smartphone sales grew 11% globally in 2021, mCommerce sales are anticipated to reach in excess of £92.17billion next year.  Meanwhile, Accenture expects social commerce to grow three times as fast as traditional commerce by 2025, representing a $1.2billion opportunity to retailers.  And this growing demand for mobile and social in shoppers’ buying journeys is impacting where and when consumers now prefer brand interactions, as Jason Smith, VP UK & Europe at MoEngage, explained:

“Often shoppers want to receive communications via the same channels through which they purchase. As revenues from mcommerce and scommerce increase, we anticipate a ‘levelling up’ when it comes to the channel engagement mix, with mobile and social brand interactions becoming more widely adopted – and expected – in line with elevated demand.  But that doesn’t mean retailers should write off email – it remains an integral part of omnichannel customer engagement strategies, especially as shopping journeys become even more blended, across a greater mix of multiple-channel touchpoints.”

Despite this channel convergence, retailers still struggle to join the dots between shopper interactions across touchpoints.  27% of European shoppers said their biggest frustration when it came to brand engagement was inconsistent messages across channels, while a further 28% said poorly personalised, irrelevant communications was their top bugbear.

“Shoppers want the right message, delivered to them at the right time, and on the right channel,” Smith continued.  “And while that premise may seem straightforward enough in principle, it’s nigh on impossible in practice without a true single customer view.  Only by joining the dots through real-time, data-led insights can retailers build this 360-degree view of the shopper, which is key to delivering and scaling engagement to grow customer retention, lifetime value and loyalty.”