The rise of mobile commerce and how to make it work

Paul Fennemore, c-suite level digital marketing and customer experience consultant, EMEA, Sitecore, explains how to better engage consumers.

Many progressive organisations have started looking through the lens on the consumer as opposed to through those of their business, so they can structure their company based on what works for their customers.

What’s focusing this shift are smarter mobile devices, combined with ever increasing processing power and higher speed mobile networks that are enabling smarter software services.

These services are making the necessity of omnichannel marcoms to become technically feasible and financially viable. They connect the physical world to the digital with services such as digital flyers, location – based services, beacons, video streaming, mobile payments and augmented reality, to name just a few. Significantly, it’s the customers’ smartphone that is removing the barriers and knitting all these channels together. Therefore, if you are putting together an omnichannel strategy, then start with a ‘mobile-first’ approach.

Why mobile?

Mobile is more than just consumer inclination to shop from the comfort of their sofa; it’s a phenomenon that has completely changed purchasing behaviour, and retailers that fail to understand its power are faced with a harsh reality that can affect the bottom line. For retailers to stay competitive in a mobile market, it’s important to understand consumer behaviour and connect the digital and physical experiences, while also mitigating the risks associated with mobile.

What is central to mobile commerce is the old-age principle of understanding customer behaviour and intent and meeting their expectations. Consumers use mobile devices out of convenience, which can mean different things for different retailers. For a luxury brand, mobile strategies may focus on driving in-store traffic, while an electronics retailer may attempt to drive mobile conversions or offer a special in-store deals – depending on whether the customer is researching while at home or in the store.

However, the customer expectation bar is being raised higher creating the ‘Now Society’ fueled by innovative services being delivered by disruptors that are feeding the consumers insatiable appetite for instant gratification. But what are these expectations?

To differentiate, mobile services need to make consumers lives better by informing, educating, supporting, reassuring and entertaining them. That’s the premise of mobile commerce, which could not be achieved by just fulfilling a product need. It serves to take the stress and risk out of their lives and makes the whole process of researching, purchasing and consuming frictionless, wherever they are and whatever they are doing.

Mitigate mobile risks

Developing the right mobile strategy can be incredibly rewarding but, when mobile is invasive, the content is irrelevant, or the user experience is weak, the consequences are dire.

The rise of mobile devices will give marketers access to more information than ever about customer habits, interests and whereabouts, but brands must be prudent with that information to avoid turning customers off. For example, beacons may be a perfect way to engage with customers while they’re in a store, but notifications should not be sent to a customer who is simply walking or driving nearby.

However, many organisations have not fully appreciated this, launching a mobile app without full consideration of just what is expected of the service. No wonder that over 90% of mobile app users stop using the apps after a month, with 78% using just three or less apps. Nevertheless, according to research by Business of Apps Report, 75% of consumers use mobile apps daily, enabling brands to relate to customers in a highly personalised way.

To be responsible in a mobile market, marketers must not only use customer data wisely, they must know who has access to that data and information at all times. Consumers are willing to give up personal information in exchange for something of value. Therefore, there’s no better way for a brand to get on a customer’s ‘do not shop’ list than through invasive, irrelevant marketing that exploits consumer privacy. In a mobile ecosystem, it’s up to marketers to build consumer trust by maintaining customer privacy and delivering great experiences.

5 Strategies for Making mCommerce Work and Pay

With a clear need for mCommerce plans to be considered by all businesses to deliver better customer interactions, here are the five things to consider:

  1. Use mobile to connect the dots across channels to get to omnichannel. Don’t create another separate channel
  2. Capture data, particularly location data, and use analytics and insight to personalise experiences, optimise and measure the ROI. Match and marry mobile data with all other customer data. Don’t create another data puddle, create a data lake
  3. Use digital marketing technology that is a unified platform performing points two to four to keep the cost of operations down, enable agility and brand messaging consistency
  4. Don’t abdicate your strategy to a creative marketing agency. Take control!
  5. Check out and learn from the masters of mobile; Nike, Coca-Cola and Samsung.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: