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Personalized incentives key to solid mcommerce strategy: CTIA panelist

October 7, 2010

Lily Pulitzer's mobile site

Lily Pulitzer's mobile site

SAN FRANCISCO – Although big-name retailers such as Lilly Pulitzer, Macy’s and Best Buy undoubtedly understand the importance of having a mobile presence, others have not been as quick to jump into the game, according to panelists at CTIA.

Panelists at the “mRetail: Engaging Consumers via Mobile” session said that mobile gives brands an opportunity to engage consumers in a way that is incomparable to other marketing channels. A main takeaway was that brands need to offer consumers incentives and discounts to get them in-store.

“We’ve been working directly with retailers and it’s important to extend their ecommerce experience to the mobile device,” said David Sikora, president/CEO of Digby, Austin, TX. “It’s really become mandatory that you have an optimized experience for customers.

“Retailers should see what they can do, what kind of engagement opportunities they have with customers in-store,” he said. “You have to look at mobile as that glue – mobile is a strategy, it’s an event that can help your business.

“I think that mobile, while it’s going to give significant opportunities to retailers, it’s incredibly empowering to consumers as well.”

The panel was moderated by Casey Chroust, executive vice president of retail operations at RILA, Washington.

Evolution of mobile retail
Retailers are a lot more motivated to see what they can do now on mobile, per Mohammad Khan, president of Vivotech, San Francisco.

According to Mr. Khan, there are three different players in the mobile commerce space: retailers, CPG brands and the payments players such as card issuers.

Many retailers have a mobile application or site, but moving forward, Mr. Khan said that he will not carry 50 different wallets on his mobile device.

“I’m going to have one single player,” Mr. Khan said. “Imagine you’re in Starbucks and you place your order and pay via one tap.

“Think of what that will do,” he said.

In the payment environment, the ecosystem is a lot more complex because it has a lot of touch points, per Mr. Khan.

Get the consumer in-store
Retailers are working with companies such as Digby, shopkick and Usablenet to transform shopping into a far more contextual, personalized and valuable than ever before.

“Mobile being the glue is a key message we have to our partners,” said Evan Tana, director of product management at shopkick, San Francisco. “We’re trying to get performance-based marketing injected into the real world.

“You have to create personalized incentives – it’s about getting game dynamics and working it into otherwise boring offline lives,” he said. “When you introduce points or a game-like layer, it can transform the shopping experience.

“It can get users to change their behavior in ways that’s interesting.”

Shopkick worked with Procter & Gamble and Kraft to reward consumers by scanning its products in-store.

“These are new forms of marketing,” Mr. Tana said. “Getting people across the aisle.

“Personally, it’s in the early days and it’s not for everybody, but it appeals to some of our user base,” he said.

Mobile enterprise
Robert Russell, director of mobility product management at AT&T, Atlanta works on the enterprise side of mobile.

The company provides several mobility services to retailers, such as downloadable applications and client list services.

“When it comes to mobile, the adoption of smartphones is skyrocketing,” Mr. Russell said. “It’s certainly not niche anymore, it’s hit the mass market.

“Many wait until the crowds come with new technologies, [before they adopt], but companies that are benefiting right now have tried a lot and some things haven’t worked, but some things have,” he said.

It all comes down to measurability and the ability to target.

The incoming data a company gets, it can turn that around to target consumers and get an ROI, per Mr. Russell.

Marketing standpoint
Motorola is seeing that a majority of consumers are carrying their mobile devices into the retail space.

“We provide a mobile loyalty solution that allows the retailer to have one-to-one communication with their consumers,” said Dana Warszona, global lead of mcommerce solutions at Motorola, Chicago.

Ms. Warszona also believes that there should be one player – that instead of carrying several credit cards, users can simply use their phone for every purchase and that can be billed to one place.

“Imaging you’re in a store and tapping different products and you have an associate with a mobile device that has an NFC reader,” Ms. Warszona said. “That changes that way we view mobile shopping.”



Final Take
At the conclusion of the panel, Mobile Commerce Daily’s Rimma Kats interviewed Mr. Tana. Here is what he said.

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Rimma Kats is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily and Mobile Marketer. Reach her at

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