Facebook EMEA vice-president Nicola Mendelsohn says mobile is “the most important consumer trend of our lifetime” for retail marketers.

The social media platform’s EMEA vice-president, Nicola Mendelsohn, said retailers should take advantage of the popularity of social messaging and mobile to increase sales.

Facebook's Nicola Mendelsohn on mobile, at Retail Week Live

“Any business today needs to start with mobile – it’s the most important consumer trend of our lifetime and having an impact on every sector you can think of,” said Mendelsohn.

She added that Facebook was “at the heart” of this trend, as 27 million UK users, or 42% of the population, log into the social media platform from a mobile device daily.

Of the top 10 most popular mobile apps, eight of them are messenger-based, and Mendelsohn said retailers should monopolise on this development to increase sales and brand awareness.

The importance of messenger

“Retailers with Facebook pages should really consider using our messenger app to communicate with customers,” said Mendelsohn, adding that they could use the app to allow shoppers to order more merchandise and “incrementally increase sales”.

Facebook’s data showed that mobile shoppers were also increasingly prepared for big retail events, stating that 40% of mobile shoppers have finished Christmas shopping by the end of November last year, up from 30% of non-mobile shoppers.

“By the time a lot of retailers launch their big TV advert many shoppers have already completed their shopping,” said Mendelsohn, which she said made a mobile marketing strategy increasingly important for retailers.

Retailers including Tesco and Marks & Spencer have partnered with Facebook on marketing campaigns around retail events including Christmas and Valentine’s Day over the last year and Mendelsohn said Facebook planned to expand its advertising capabilities for retailers.

“Consider Facebook news feed – for years we had no advertising on it until we saw how businesses could add value and integrate brands into the experience,” said Mendelsohn.

“Now there is as much advertised content as user-generated content on our news feed,” she added.

Mendelsohn concluded that video would be the next big phase of growth for retail advertising on Facebook, revealing that the platform had more than 8 billion video views per day last year, up from 1 billion in 2014.

“Understanding people’s behaviour and needs is key for any retailer,” said Mendelsohn.

“If we put people first the rest will follow.”

Keep up-to-date with the latest from Retail Week Live

Don’t forget you can follow all the latest news and analysis from Retail Week Live here