Speeding Mobile-First, Always-On Holiday Season Customer Engagement

Speeding Mobile-First, Always-On Holiday Season Customer Engagement


While the crescendo of consumer excitement around Diwali was less than two weeks away, more shopping rushes are already beckoning, with Christmas and New Year’s Day fast approaching on the calendar.

With 23% of Indians planning to spend more this holiday season and 84% equipped with bigger budgets, brands are understandably excited. To earn their piece of the holiday season pie and turn it into something more sustainable in 2024, brands must prepare effective customer engagement tactics and technologies that are responsive to Indian consumers’ evolving preferences in 2023.

And what they find before them is an increasingly eclectic, mobile-centric group of consumers, with higher-than-ever expectations of personalized, frictionless shopping and loyalty experiences, whatever the channel or time.

In this blog, we will explore some of the key patterns you should consider for your holiday marketing strategy in 2023. We will also touch on a few examples of how you can capitalize the many opportunities and customer experience evolutions using the right technology.

Mobile-First Shoppers on the Rise

Mobile has become the go-to channel for shoppers, across all phases of their purchasing journey—across exploration, research purchase, and more. In fact, 78% of Indian shoppers plan to shop on their smartphones.

While there is an obvious incentive to do so given the proliferation of mobile app-exclusive discounts, the channel’s prominence is also a natural product of its increasing usage by people in general. In 2022, India’s Android users spent 4.9 hours a day on their phones, in a country expected to boast over 1.5 billion smartphone users by 2040. 91% of Indian consumers also prefer mobile wallets as a payment method, according to a report by Experian.

To be sure, the growth of mobile does not indicate one homogenous user base with largely identical behavior. Digitally savvy consumers from younger generations in urban settings will look for incentives and experiences quite different from those sought by the more digitally converted in more rural regions, a massive audience base that should command the attention of every brand. For example, even though an uptick in app installations can be expected across sectors between November and December, the acquisition campaigns focused on app installs and first app-based purchases among Gen Zers and elderly shoppers will not bear much resemblance to each other.

Taking the rise of mobile-first Indian shoppers, then, means gathering data on their behavioral patterns on the device and researching the diverse factors that might pique their interest. Brands will then have to implement a holiday season strategy that can reflect those findings in measurable, attributable, and scalable mobile customer experiences—backed by solutions that can enable them to track mobile app traffic, optimize journeys, and generate insights, all in real time.

A Taste for Hybrid Shopping

Although brands should make mobile shopper engagement a major piece of their holiday marketing strategy, they should not do so at the expensive of other channels. In the wake of the long pandemic years, over half of India’s consumers have developed a predilection for hybrid shopping—fluidly crisscrossing the online-offline divide and traversing a variety of touchpoints in the process.

The hybrid shopping landscape can mean a lot of things for brands. There is the obvious need to introduce curbside pickup, streamlined delivery, and more nimble logistical infrastructures. They also need to explore potentials for creative engagement. Adding trackable QR codes to their packaging to enrich post-purchase experiences (e.g., exclusive recipe downloads after QR code scan) and drive further digital engagement.

When it comes to the holiday season, brands also need to take into account how shoppers’ omnichannel behavior changes before, during, and after the period. There is typically a dip in mobile app and online activities as people turn their attention to their loved ones and friends during festivities.

Zooming back further, having the tools in place to orchestrate, analyze, and optimize such omnichannel shopping journeys for a diversity of target segments is more and more a necessity. 59% of the country’s consumers wished brands could communicate with them seamlessly across channels. Trying to entice and serve such a target base without a streamlined tech stack for omnichannel shopper engagement, however, can be a major headache.

The prospect of stretching one’s team thin to handle multiple point tools will likely not be welcomed by many brands. Adding to the list of worries, many will find themselves scrambling for alternatives for mapping shopper journeys and identities as cookies lose their relevance.

Hungry for More than Deals

A major driver of both holiday season app installs and purchases is a tantalizing, can’t-miss deal. As a result, the holiday season will likely provide a major revenue boost, but regardless of its success, there are still all the other dates on the calendar.

Gaining an at best transitory customer base, who largely disappear from sight after all the deals expire, cannot be a winning gameplan. Add to the mix a growing yearning for more than purely transactional benefits among Indian consumers, with 63% demonstrating reduced price consciousness when they compare brands.

All of this points to the need to establish a long-term, flexible audience engagement program that can still sustain engagement and foster brand interest—after the holiday zeal peters out and consumers’ wallets become depleted.

Brands need to be able to swiftly change up their communications to focus on something other than sales, with innovative loyalty programs, personalized content, and immersive experiences that can help customers feel connected to them without the pressure to buy, yet again. They can learn from customers’ holiday purchases to address weaknesses in their customer experience, all while continually understanding their post-holiday browsing behavior to identify cross-selling and up-selling opportunities.

Tips for a 2023 Holiday Home Run

1. Revamp Your Mobile CX

Catering to a mobile-first consumer base also means keeping the mobile CX up to date. This can manifest in the forms of:

  • gamified mobile experiences
  • immersive mobile shopping journeys
  • VR and AR-enhanced experiences
  • Visually striking, easy to navigate UX designs

Since shoppers also use WhatsApp and Instagram for shopping, brands also need to construct short-term and long-term innovations in their strategies for those two channels. Consider, for example, targeted WhatsApp group chats to cultivate niche target shopper segments with exclusive deals. An investment in short-form video content and shoppable feeds can also generate considerable returns under the right circumstances.

2. Plan Ahead

Some of the Diwali campaigns this year began months before the holiday, and the same will likely be true for the two festivals ahead of us. It’s important for brands to launch their holiday season promotions at least two to three weeks ahead, complete with a clear idea of how the communications and retargeting efforts will vary prior to, during, and after the festivities.

3. Branch Out to More Channels—Holistically

Being multichannel or omnichannel ready entails different preparations for enterprises and SMBs. The scale, complexity, and timeline of the transformations will differ drastically. There still are a few things in common, however.

To start, both will have to identify their existing data sources and gaps so they can map out a path towards unifying them. Enterprises and SMBs alike will also have to identify a set of use cases or engagement scenarios most pertinent to their brand-specific needs throughout the holiday season. For example, most will be interested in being able to identify the audience identities of traffic from holiday Google ads on other channels and retarget them on other channels for maximum conversions.

These use cases should point brands towards the channels that need to be prioritized. Omnichannel does not mean every channel all at once, after all, and certainly on so short a timeline.

4. Make Your Mobile Interactions Contextual

Most consumers have a good enough idea of what they want; it’s the “where” part that they need to figure out as the peak season countdown begins. Instead of dropping digital shoppers off at a landing page or an app screen and expecting them to stumble their way into a purchase, proactive, contextual interventions will deliver much better results.

Strategize how you can utilize a multitude of mobile notifications and messages—SMS, WhatsApp messages, in-app push notifications, in-page overlays, carousel notifications, and more. Intervene when shoppers show signs of exit or inactivity; tailor the notifications to what and how they have been browsing; communicate your calls to actions and their associated benefits concisely in your notification content.


The holiday season caps off a year of hard work for consumers—and twelve months of marketing efforts by brands across industries. Grabbing the attention of consumers and converting them to potential long-term customers that will stick around beyond a discount-induced purchased will be high on the to-do-list of every brand. We’ve covered some of the trends shaping this year’s festivities—and the tactics that might just set you on the right path to more handsome returns.

For more insights on holiday marketing in 2023, see our India Holiday Guide 2023


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