Monday, November 28, 2011

Consumer Friendly Mobile Websites Will Win Big This Holiday Season

It's time for the official holiday shopping season kick-off. Over the next month, retailers will be vying for shoppers' hard-earned dollars. I can see that the ones that have put some thought into their mobile web site will be the most successful during this important time of year.
Consumers are relying on their mobile devices to make on-the-go purchasing decisions this holiday season, and retailers that give consumers easy to read, accessible mobile websites can win over competitors that do not have true mobile sites.
What are the most important elements retailers should include in their mobile web sites? It is important for them to think like a customer and answer quickly and easily the questions that shoppers might have.
Make sure that the store location and hours are prominently displayed on the site. If a customer has to hunt for them for more than a couple of seconds, they will have moved on. People are busy, and the holiday season just means that they have more distractions than usual competing for their attention.
The big surge in mobile searches by holiday shoppers will probably start in the last couple of weeks before Christmas. That is the time when people who have not completed (or even started) their shopping get serious about choosing gifts for family and friends. This is the point where retailers will up the mobile web site ante by making sure that they are offering coupons to buyers and offering gift suggestions to prospective buyers to encourage them to make a buying decision.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Mobile Marketing Campaigns Need to Anticipate Consumer Behavior

When creating a marketing campaign, marketers today should consider including mobile coupons on the days and times when the recipient would be receptive to messages. The results of a study conducted by RevTrax point to Wednesday and Thursday as the most popular days for consumers to print coupons they receive electronically.
This makes a lot of sense, as many people plan weekend shopping trips in advance by printing off coupons for the things they want to buy. Companies planning SMS marketing campaigns should keep in mind that buyers will be actively searching for online coupons midweek, and these could be the best days for introducing new offers to prospective buyers.
Approximately ten percent of mobile phone owners anticipate that they will redeem a coupon this year, and that translates to almost 20 million adults in the U.S. alone. This figure is expected to increase to almost 30 million mobile phone users in 2012.
Offering coupons is a great way to get prospective buyers in the door. Once they are in your business, buyers are more likely to get them to buy other products. I know that I’m more likely to buy something if I am already in the store rather than go elsewhere, and this strategy can work for other businesses as well.

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Hybrid Experience - How Digital, Interactive, Mobile, and Social Interact

Retailers today struggle with what to give customers in store, how to create a memorable experience, and how to create additional value and revenue. All are trying different tactics to increase revenues and loyalty through mobile /social sharing in store.

The question is, are these repeatable models to scale? Who owns this experience in a brand? Is there a central owner? I’ve heard more times than I can count that within each brand there are no short of 5 heads of marketing, each having different P&L, responsibilities and agendas. And then there are the brands’ agencies (plural), which all have different roles and agendas. So which agency and which VP of Marketing owns the “new hybrid” customer experience in store? When you determine who the owner is, where is their knowledge coming from? The lack of knowledge in the industry today on mobile is one of the main reasons so many brands have not done mobile, or have not done mobile well.

Mobile is exciting and it’s all over the news; you can’t help but read about a new mobile campaign rollout these days. Should you make corporate decisions by following what other brands have done? Do you really want to follow exactly what your competitor is doing? Anyone can hit one homerun but that doesn’t get you an over .300 batting average. You have to engage a company that lives and breathes mobile, you can’t run your business day to day and be in tune with every new technology out there.

Now, let’s talk about the new hybrid customer experience. This is the experience in which customers engage with a brand in store in the new “digital, interactive, mobile, social” realm. The reason I don’t give it a name and it can be classified into four categories. No one knows what to call digital interactions in store.

One size consumer experiences do not fit all. We have to look at our new consumers groups and how they want to engage, the channel they want to engage and how to get them to re-engage and come back into the store. This is the biggest miss by brands in the marketplace today.

Each brand usually is targeting multiple demographics. First you must outline a mobile strategy to understand your demographic channels, how to engage and how often to re-engage. It’s just as important to first run “blocking and tackling” campaigns prior to “trick plays”. We see more brands trying to do far out innovative things and a only few will stick, but creating a foundation for building a mobile database that will last and not just be “one timers” is built from the main steps in mobile.

So who are the demographics and how do you reach them?

Moms with kids


  • High text frequency
  • Use text to keep contact with kids
  • Search for locations and products on the go
  • Opt-in to mobile campaigns to get value add
  • Growing in smartphone usage


Minorities



  • Cell phones are primary household phones
  • Low landline usage
  • Low in-home internet access
  • Primary text users and watch cell phone minutes carefullyLow smartphone usage, typical phones are WAP or xHTML


Business Stakeholders



  • Sales, technology, and management
  • High smartphone usage
  • Uses a combination of text, email, and internet
  • Typically has 7-10 applications downloaded and uses 2-4 regularly


Corporate Business



  • Corporate America employees connected through Blackberries
  • This group works for corporate America , uses Blackberries frequently due to fast response via email and text
  • Low adoption rate of smartphones due to security issues with iPhones and Androids
  • Uses internet often, limited applications downloads


Tweens



  • Uses feature phones and "smaller" Blackberries
  • Parents pay phone bill to reach this demographic
  • 90% texting, 10%
  • Very limited smartphones in this demographic due to cost


High School/College Kids



  • Similar to tweens, using text frequently, voice less often
  • Limited smartphone usage due to costs, although growing in college aged demographic
  • High Facebook usage, although connects through mobile web vs. application


Non Mainstream Male



  • Early adopters of latest in technology and gadgets
  • Gamers, surfers, skateboarders, and musicians 23-35 year old male.
  • Highest demographic using Android OS powered devices
  • Uses mobile devices for gaming and texting, not a fan of "voice" conversations


So how do you connect and make an emotional connection and experience with these different consumer groups in store? You understand the key drivers around purchasing behavior, social behavior and choose interactions and experiences that go across multiple mobile channels to appeal to each demographic.

If you roll out a QR code program for tweens or minorities it will fail. If you roll out a QR code and SMS program for tweens, minorities and Moms, you will see the interactions by channel and give these groups multiple ways to engage with the brand.

More on Hybrid experiences and closing the gap in my next post.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Hybrid Experiences – Integrating Mobile with Print, Social, Digital for Winning Customer Experiences

Retailers today struggle with what to give customers in store, how to create a memorable experience, and how to create additional value and revenue. All are trying different tactics to increase revenues and loyalty through mobile /social sharing in store.

The question is, are these repeatable models to scale? Who owns this experience in a brand? Is there a central owner? I’ve heard more times than I can count that within each brand there are no short of 5 heads of marketing, each having different P&L, responsibilities and agendas. And then there are the brands’ agencies (plural), which all have different roles and agendas. So which agency and which VP of Marketing owns the “new hybrid” customer experience in store? When you determine who the owner is, where is their knowledge coming from? The lack of knowledge in the industry today on mobile is one of the main reasons so many brands have not done mobile, or not done mobile well. Mobile is exciting and it’s all over the news; you can’t help but read about a new mobile campaign rollout these days. Should you make corporate decisions by following what other brands have done?.Do you really want to follow exactly what your competitor is doing? Anyone can hit one homerun but that doesn’t get you an over .300 batting average. You have to engage a company that lives and breathes mobile, you can’t run your business day to day and be in tune with every new technology out there.

Now, let’s talk about the new hybrid customer experience. This is the experience in which customers engage with a brand in store in the new “digital, interactive, mobile, social” realm. The reason I don’t give it a name and it can be classified into four categories. No one knows what to call digital interactions in store.

One size consumer experiences do not fit all. We have to look at our new consumers groups and how they want to engage, the channel they want to engage and how to get them to re-engage and come back into the store. This is the biggest miss by brands in the marketplace today.

Each brand usually is targeting multiple demographics. First you must outline a mobile strategy to understand your demographic channels, how to engage and how often to re-engage. It’s just as important to first run “blocking and tackling” campaigns prior to “trick plays”. We see more brands trying to do far out innovative things and a only few will stick and work, but creating a foundation for building a mobile database that will last and not just be “one timers” is built from the main steps in mobile.

So who are the demographics and how do you reach them?

Moms with kids: These ladies are high texters, it’s the only way they can get ahold of their kids, they use the internet on their phones regularly to find things while on the go, they opt in to mobile campaigns to get value add and share with other mothers. This group is growing in smartphones but doesn’t use applications frequently as of today.

Minorities: This demographic uses their cell phones as the primary phone in the household. They have low landline usage and don’t have internet in home. They are primarily text users because it’s unlimited in their plans and they watch their cell phone minutes carefully. Typical phones are WAP or xHTML, very low smartphone users in this demographic.

Business Stakeholders: this is your group of business people that are in sales, technology or management and have a smartphone primarily to stay connected to work. They have applications downloaded on their phones and use a combination of text, email and internet on their phones. They typically have 7-10 applications downloaded on their phones and use 2-4 regularly.

Corporate Business: This group works for corporate America and is connected to Blackberries. Corporations aren’t getting off the Blackberry servers anytime soon due to the investment of the security issues with iPhones and Androids. These folks are Blackberry lovers because they can type fast in response to the high email and texting usage. The Berry Group, does use internet regularly but not as often as the other Business group and very limited applications downloaded.

Tweens: This group of cell phone users are feature phones and “smaller” Blackberries. Their parents need them to have a phone to reach them but don’t want to pay for a data plan. This demographic is about 90% texting, 10% voice, very limited smartphones.

High School/College Kids: Very similar to tweens, however this group uses text frequently, less voice, and limited data plans due to the costs. This group is very into Facebook and usually connects to this through the mobile website and not the application on their device.

Non Mainstream Male: this is the gamer, surfer, skateboarder, and musician 23-35 year old male. This group is the highest Android group and doesn’t want to conform to Apple and likes to be different and support new things. This group is big on gaming application downloads and texting, this group is not a fan of “voice” conversations and sometimes is irritated with phone calls.

So how do you connect and make an emotional connection and experience with these different consumer groups in store? You understand the key drivers around purchasing behavior, social behavior and choose interactions and experiences that go across multiple mobile channels to appeal to each demographic.

If you roll out a QR code program for tweens or minorities it will fail. If you roll out a QR code and SMS program for tweens, minorities and Moms, you will see the interactions by channel and give these groups multiple ways to engage with the brand.

More on Hybrid experiences and closing the gap in my next post.

Friday, November 11, 2011

iPad Users More Likely to Buy Products

I didn't realize that the type of mobile device that a consumer is using has an impact on whether he or she will make a purchase. It turns out that iPad users are more likely to get their wallets out than Android or PC users. Not only are iPad users buying more often, they are making larger purchases.

Mobile shopping is becoming more popular, and consumers are becoming more comfortable with using this technology to make purchases. A full 46 percent of shoppers in the United States plan to make a holiday purchase via a mobile device, including tablets, this year.



Retailers will be responding to this surge in mobile device use by making sure that their sites are ready to respond to shoppers' desire to make a buying decision and conclude the transaction quickly. Using the iPad means that shoppers have the convenience of shopping virtually anywhere, and someone who is focused on getting the purchase completed quickly will not be interested in using a web site that makes completing the transaction a complicated or time-consuming experience.

With the holiday shopping season approaching quickly, iPad use will only increase. Consumers already have very full schedules, and any strategy that can help them save time when choosing gifts for friends and family members is something they will certainly utilize.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

SMS Message Incentives are Key to Getting Mobile Device Users to Buy

I like an incentive as much as the next person does. Marketers know that sweetening a deal by offering something extra is an effective way to get mobile device users to turn into buyers. Offering a coupon, discount, or a gift card can help to increase sales, and using text messages to share these offers with buyers is an effective way to do so.

The targeted SMS messages make the offer appear available to selected customers, which is a very effective strategy. The results of a survey conducted by the Mobile Marketing Association support this idea. When 1,000 mobile device users were asked if they would be willing to use their mobile phone to buy an item if they received a prompt with a special offer, 62 percent of respondents stated that they would.

Mobile marketers take heed: a significant portion of the buying public is willing to embrace mobile technology to buy products. They are ready and willing to spend, and mobile devices make the process a quick and easy one.

Retailers who miss the boat on offering mobile payment options are also going to find it more challenging to retain their customer base. The best time to start planning a mobile marketing campaign is now. This technology isn't going to go away and customers will become more sophisticated over time about what they expect from the retailers they deal with.

Friday, November 4, 2011

CPG Companies Get Results from Mobile Marketing Campaigns

Today, approximately 91% percent of the population in the United States carries a cell phone. One in four cell phone subscribers uses their handheld device to access the mobile web. CPG (Consumer Packaged Goods) companies have a ready market of customers, and incorporating a mobile marketing strategy in their overall marketing efforts that is familiar to their customers makes good sense.

Mobile marketing to CPG customers can help to build a company's brand, make customers aware of special offers, and increase customer retention. The ads can be customized so that they are of interest to local buyers. With mobile technology, companies can also implement audio ads with an automated voice service.

These companies can use banner ads to direct customers to the closest retail location where they can buy products. Banner ads can also be utilized to offer specific deals to local customers. Coupons can be shared with customers through their cell phones as well.

I think the idea of using mobile websites for CPG customers is a very effective one. Cell phone users are likely to use these resources to plan a shopping trip. Modern consumers are always on the lookout for the best deal for products they are buying on a regular basis and I can see how offering coupons or special offers through a cell phone would be an effective way to generate sales.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

EBay QR Code Promotion Means Literal Sidewalk Sale

Here is the latest update in mobile technology for shoppers, and I must say that I find this concept intriguing: eBay has opened a store that is literally a storefront. Shoppers can look at merchandise on offer and use QR codes to buy products while standing on the sidewalk.




The eBay Inspiration Shop is located at 404 Park Avenue South in New York. It does not have an interior space where shoppers enter to browse through merchandise and make purchases. For this shop, all the action is confined to the store window. Consumers who don’t live in the area can check out the store from the eBay Facebook page or by visiting m.InspirationShop.eBay.com.

The items in the store are all equipped with QR codes. Consumers need only take a picture of it with their mobile phones to access the eBay app, which allows them to browse through similar items or to go to a checkout.




I’m already thinking about what shopping would be like if this idea takes off. I would like to have the option of shopping from the sidewalk and avoiding having to go into crowded stores. I know I don’t enjoy dealing with pushy staff when I need to buy something, and being able to simply point a smartphone at the code and scan it is a much simpler way to shop.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Mobile Technology Poised to Take Over Modern Marketing

Companies that fail to get involved in the mobile technology revolution are running the risk of being left behind. I can appreciate that some corporate marketing types may shy away from embracing mobile techniques to interact with their customers, but the fact remains that this method of reaching out to buyers is only going to get bigger.

With the use of smartphones increasing among members of the public, these devices present multiple opportunities for companies to get the word out about their brand. A good example of the way mobile technology can used to promote a brand is to look at use patterns during the Super Bowl. The number of consumers who made a point of getting more information by using their mobile device while watching a game tripled.

Today’s consumers do not want to wait to find information they need to learn about products or make a buying decision. Mobile marketers know that when buyers are able to access the information they need quickly, they are more likely to take the next step and make a purchase. The best reason for embracing mobile marketing is that this strategy works.

Customers are increasingly connecting to brands using social networking through mobile devices, and this trend is going to continue. If I was devising a marketing strategy for my company, I would make sure I had mobile marketing covered.

Mobile Devices to Lead the Way in Holiday Shopping

If you’re like me and are not a huge fan of going to stores during the holiday season, you may want to embrace mobile technology this year and shop with your favorite electronic device. The day after Thanksgiving, “Black Friday” may even lose its distinction of being the busiest shopping day of the year in the U.S.

Search engine giant Google is predicting that a whopping 15 percent of “Black Friday” searches for merchandise will be made from mobile devices. This makes perfect sense to me: if I can save time and maybe some money by shopping online, that is the way to go. Using a mobile device makes it even more of an attractive option to me, and I bet that plenty of other shoppers will feel the same way.

An interesting trend is that shoppers are getting an even bigger jump on their holiday shopping by starting the process on Thanksgiving Day. Retailers who attract customers through Facebook appear to be the big winners here, with companies reporting that Turkey Day was the biggest single day for sales for the entire year. Internet users who visit a social networking site first and then click through to the parent site convert into buyers at twice the standard rate.

Savvy online retailers take note: there are customers who are ready to pull out their wallets once they get up from the Thanksgiving dinner table, and you tap into this market by establishing a presence on social networking sites.

Source: http://www.portfolio.com/views/blogs/executive-style/2011/10/13/five-disruptive-holiday-shopping-trends