Mobile Marketing & Commerce: Cashing in on Mobile Consumers
5 mobile marketing best bets for cross-channel retailers
Mobile isn’t just a useful tool in a retailer’s toolkit anymore; it’s an essential element of successful multichannel marketing, engagement and loyalty initiatives. The mobile internet — the mobile web, native applications, hybrid platforms and web apps — is fundamentally changing the way businesses can interact, engage and monetize their relationship with consumers.
So how can retailers get up to speed with fast-moving trends in mobile technology and use them to their advantage? Here’s my list of the top five mobile best bets for retail:
1. True brand experiences will extend to mobile. Mobility and apps have emerged as a constant, even necessary, aspect of consumers’ lives. Retailers realize they need a mobile strategy to keep consumers interested and help grow their businesses.
Retailers are using apps to drive foot traffic into their stores to enhance the physical retail experience. In the age of Google and instant information, shoppers are educating themselves before they ever set foot into a store. Smart businesses will help to do the educating via mobile.
2. Mobile will offer a unified paradigm for personalized commerce. The retail marketplace is changing rapidly, and businesses must adapt to that ever-evolving competitive landscape or risk losing market share. At least 45 percent of smartphone users have made a purchase from their mobile phone, according to a June 2011 study by market research and consulting firm Chadwick Martin Bailey.
Retailers must adjust to the new paradigm for personalized commerce via mobile devices, with consumers using their mobile devices to research products, read user reviews, select make and model, compare prices, and make transactions.
3. Location-enabling personalization will be a differentiator. The question has evolved from “Where is it?” to “What’s in there for me?” Mobile devices are location-aware, which enables a previously unthinkable level of personalization.
Retailers that have device-aware mobile sites and apps can distribute relevant content that’s optimized for the specific device in a targeted consumer’s hands. They can enable integrated text messaging (SMS) as well as multimedia messaging (MMS) such as images and video, push notifications, and click-to-mobile web.
In addition, mobile offers retailers the opportunity to drive personalized situational selling. They can leverage IT systems for wish lists and gift registries as well as special mobile offers based on consumer behavior and purchase history. Mobile offers a range of options for retailers to engage on-the-go consumers, influence purchase behavior, drive sales and encourage loyalty.
4. Social media will continue to be the cornerstone to the connected consumer. The reputation and perception of a retailer’s brand is determined by what customers and prospects say about it. Uncontrolled communications, from media coverage to word-of-mouth, are perceived to be more objective by consumers and thus tend to have greater influence over them.
Social media is the ultimate venue for uncontrolled communications, where word-of-mouth — good, bad or indifferent — can spread virally in an instant. Retailers who have their finger on the pulse of social media will be better able to understand consumers’ wants and needs, helping them to outmaneuver their competitors.
5. One-to-one relationships will increase customer loyalty. Whether it involves enabling interactive experiences via the mobile web, apps, social media or multichannel initiatives, a well executed mobile strategy can help retailers create one-to-one relationships with consumers.
Mobile can be the glue that holds a multichannel loyalty program together and increases its effectiveness. A mobile component can be integrated with existing programs to drive repeat engagement. Retailers can reward loyalty to encourage repeat purchases in-store, online and via mobile.
Retailers need mobile websites, native apps and web apps to achieve their objectives of engaging consumers, driving commerce and encouraging customer loyalty.