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Mobile key ingredient needed to encourage consumer purchasing

June 29, 2011

With the recession and current state of the economy, consumers are less inclined to spend online or in-store. However, mobile presents an opportunity for brands to drive sales and customer loyalty through unique experiences, per industry experts.

Brands should look at mobile strategically and include valuable features in the consumer experience. Companies need to feature tools such as store locators, store check-ins, product discovery through bar code scanning, promotion discovery through QR code scanning, timely and relevant local offers through push notifications and even store exit surveys, all done within the retailer’s rich

“Brands are driving sales and customer loyalty by engaging consumers through unique mobile optimized experiences,” said Holly Krenek, marketing manager at Digby, Dallas.

“It is not about taking the tactical approach of cutting and pasting an ecommerce site to mobile site as it limits the retailer’s ability to create rich, engaging and location based offers and promotions,” she said.

“By providing consumers with valuable and rich experiences, consumers feel encouraged on a deeper level to shop from their mobile devices anywhere at anytime helping brands increase sales via mobile, build a community of lifelong loyal customers and learn about customer buying behavior while in the store.”

Mobile experience
Connecting via mobile is increasingly becoming one of the most effective ways retailers can reach consumers.

Companies are seeing the advantage of incorporating mobile into their daily initiatives.

Retailers should include mobile in every part of their marketing communication to customers across all channels as mobile drives sales in ecommerce, catalog and in-store channels.

“Whether it be through SMS, push notifications through the retailer’s app, email campaigns, direct mail, catalogs, online advertising or print advertising, customers want to find out about specific offers at the moment they are relevant to them,” Ms. Krenek said.

“Sending customers promotions while they are in the store through their mobile device is effective as more and more shoppers are using smartphones,” she said. “The bigger and more targeted the digital and mobile outreach, the bigger the impact the brand will have on their most loyal – and soon to be loyal – customers.

Additionally, providing consumers access to valuable information is key to keeping them locked in as loyal advocates for life, per Ms. Krenek.

Brands must provide their customers with accessibility to product information on an exclusive level.

Promotional offers, coupons, store discounts, daily deals, new seasonal sales and events should be key opportunities for brands to leverage their relationships with consumers.

In addition, rewards are vital.

“All humans love to be rewarded in some shape or form, so by rewarding on a personal level, the relationship between brand and consumer will grow stronger,” Ms. Krenek said. “Connectivity on any level between brand and consumer is important for long-term success.

“Driving consumers in-store via daily deals is another great way to do so,” she said.

All about the consumer
Steve Timpson, president of Siteminis, Atlanta also believes that offers and incentives such as daily deals help draw consumers in.

“Daily Deals have an audience and it will grow,” Mr. Timpson said. “To see what the value might be, just look at eBay, which although has no real daily deals, any item posted on eBay is basically a singular deal.

“And there is big money being made on eBay’s mobile site,” he said. “Companies that specialize in hourly or daily deals are making headway with transactions and customers that are shopping for deals are returning consistently.

“In this economy, deals – not necessarily sales – work. Coupons and other bundled types of offers do well and can be done via a mobile site, SMS or email.”

According to Mr. Timpson, the key to success on the daily deal strategy is to make sure that it is designed throughout other channels – be it PC site or brick and mortar.

Companies should use social sites to help gain viewership and interest and also work towards refining the SMS opt-in lists for even larger shopping basket conversion and shop frequency.

Brands use mobile with customers in several ways, per Mr. Timpson.

Companies use the medium to get more footsteps in the door via use of ‘find a store’, ‘click to call’ and ‘map it’ functions that are basic mobile Web site and application functions.

Additionally, to increase spend at the store, brands use QR codes that provide consumers with product information, customer ratings and in-store coupons.

“Other ways mobile helps in conversion is by making purchasing available on the mobile device,” Mr. Timpson said.
“In general, the benefit of mobile is, well, its mobile,” he said.

In-store targeting
SMS can also be an effective tool to drive in-store traffic and keep consumers interested with offers when they opt-in to a brand’s loyalty program.

“If a mobile user is opted in, you may know when and where he or she will be at a certain time of day,” said Jeff Hasen, chief marketing officer of Hipcricket, Kirkland, WA. “For instance, if I told my favorite market that I shop between 5 and 7 p.m., it can send me offers and information when I’m most likely to buy.

“Of course, consumers in store can pull info or a deal by responding to a call to action on a shelf talker or other communications vehicle,” he said.

Additionally, the executive said that because of its personal nature, mobile is uniquely positioned to deliver the most relevant information and offers.

“I don’t have to get an eyelash enhancement offer from Groupon that is for the masses – I actually can receive something that interests me,” Mr. Hasen said. “Throw in location and the permission a brand receives from a consumer in a loyalty club and you have meaningful marketing.

“Daily deals work for the mobile subscriber if they are relevant,” he said. “An 80 percent off suit is no good to me if the retailer is 80 miles away.

“But if you are close and tell me that you have something I want – and you have the inventory to satisfy all who receive the deal – I’ll at least consider it.”

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

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