Monday, June 7, 2010

Canadian Marketing Blog - Canadian Marketing Association: Mobile Commerce & Retailers

A previous post of mine talked about the rise in retailers focusing on mobile marketing strategy to increase their awareness, drive traffic to stores and keep customers engaged via their mobile device. The mobile ecosystem is evolving extremely quickly and I’d like to continue the theme of retailers but will take this opportunity to focus in greater detail on mobile commerce.

Mobile commerce means different things to different people, depending on who you’re talking to. I’ve come across the following definitions of Mobile Commerce:

• PSMS (Premium SMS) where a user’s mobile bill is invoiced due to a user sending a premium rated SMS to a short code (MO) or by the user accepting a subscription type billing for alerts.
• NFC (Near Field Communication) where an OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) equips handsets with Hardware/Software that facilitates a wave and pay type of solution. (May also use RFID – Radio Frequency Identification, Bluetooth, enhanced SIM cards)
• Other often used terms are Mobile wallets, where users can use third party providers like PayPal to facilitate transactions.
• Mobile banking is another popular term that gets thrown into the mix, however M-Banking has very little coverage in this post.

The M-Commerce I’m talking about is payment of products or services via credit card (debit card) using an encrypted mobile internet protocol to facilitate purchases. You’ll also hear the term PCI DSS compliant in this mix (for those not familiar with this acronym, it means Payment Card Industry Compliance Data Security Standard). It’s designed to mask/encrypt the credit/debit card information.

Our discussions with retailers have yielded some thought provoking information, most significantly that consumers are making purchases from their mobile devices on NON mobile friendly e-commerce sites. Not surprisingly the benchmarks for time on site is lower, bounce rates are higher, basket size is lower and drop-off is higher when comparing the experience to established e-commerce portals. Nonetheless the major point here is that PEOPLE ARE BUYING!

This begs the question of the ROI (the Hard ROI not media ROI) of developing a commerce portal that is mobile friendly where benchmarks narrow. To me, this seems like one of the easier business cases to build especially considering the enormous momentum of web friendly handsets, affordable data fees, and increased propensity by consumers to use their Credit Cards on mobile devices.

Mobile marketing will reach new heights because transactions will close communication and campaign loops to purchases. Now we have scenarios where end of the season clearance sales will live inside mobile portals. It’s also worthy to recognize other channels of mobile marketing that will benefit from commerce like SMS. Reward your loyal SMS subscribers with first to know and exclusive offers and alerts of discounted items. Use mobile display banner ads and yield exceptionally high click through rates of featured items and convert to checkout. Develop mobile friendly versions of emails for those consumers who read e-newsletters on handsets. Explore affiliate mobile networks (and cross retailer downloadable applications) and pay the content owners or application owners upon conversion to sale. I’d like nothing better than to see SMS joke of the day ads replaced by “Be the first to own an iPad! Click here”.

Some thought starters…

Go to your webmaster and ask him/her to pull the web reports on types of browsers accessing your site. Parse the data and look at bounce rates of mobile browsers vs. traditional browsers. Take a quick audit of your page views accessed through mobile browsers, what information is being viewed? Some of my guesses are Store Locator/Maps, Store Hours, Specials and Price Comparison tools.

Pull the report from your email CRM activities, see how many page views are coming from Mobile browsers – and then look at your newsletter on your handheld.

Start asking for mobile numbers and opt-ins from your sign up section of your website – you’ll be shocked at how many consumers are willing to give up their mobile number.

Look at using web to mobile tools like “send to my mobile” for online flyer/catalog searches that will send wish lists, product information, mobile coupons, store address etc. direct to you via a shortcode (or by updating your native application through the PUSH API).

Tag offline media like flyers, FSIs, POS, print, newspaper, OOH with mobile messaging calls to action and start changing impressions to interactions and now transactions.

If your site has e-commerce does your commerce provider have the ability to use webservices? You’ll need to decide on a transcoded (operation of changing data from one format to another, such as an XML to HTML, so the output will be displayed in an appropriate manner for the device) mobile site OR to build from scratch (potentially using a mobile internet middleware solution) optimizing navigation and content for groupings of mobile handsets based on form, feature and function. Do NOT compromise on user experience.

The advent of mobile transactions will better equip marketers to assess the dollar value of a mobile number, which in my mind is critical for next generation mobile strategy. Our industry must move beyond last of the budget and end of the year throw in experiments. Above all focus on utility, don’t think of mobile as native application, OR messaging, OR mobile web, OR mobile advertising – these are all ANDs.

Finally don’t build your mobile strategy on an island – it must integrate and fit within your overall communication plan...Canadian Marketing Blog - Canadian Marketing Association by Brady Murphy

1 comment:

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