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Top do’s and don’ts of mobile commerce

August 14, 2012

The mobile commerce space is growing at a rapid pace and marketers are increasingly incorporating new technologies such as NFC and image recognition as a way to drive sales. Although effective, many companies are still not using mobile to the best of their abilities to increase engagement and drive brand awareness.

The mobile commerce space is growing like no other. The medium presents marketers with big opportunities to drive in-store traffic and increase revenue.

Here are the top do’s and don’ts of mobile commerce.

Do offer users value through mobile that has them coming back over and over again.
Having users download a mobile application is easy. However, having them go back to that app later on is a different story.

“The No. 1 problem on mobile is not downloads – it’s retention,” said Cyriac Roeding, cofounder/CEO of shopkick.

“Most apps are only used a couple of times, and then never again,” he said. “Therefore most of your focus should be on offering so much value through mobile that users simply want to come.

Don’t assume that masses will use your own proprietary store app.
Although mobile applications are a hot commodity, users are beginning to think carefully about which apps get prime real estate on their mobile device.

“Users are not going to download 40 different apps for 40 different stores and use a new app every time they enter a new store,” Mr. Roeding said.

“Work with aggregation apps that resemble a ‘mall on the phone,’” he said.

Do optimize for mobile.
When in doubt, keep it simple – marketers should always make their initiatives as simple as possible.

“Big buttons and easy user flow,” said Dave Swartz, cofounder of Medl Mobile. “Simplicity is key.”

Don’t use a Web-based payment system that has not been optimized for mobile.
There is nothing more frustrating than taking users to a non-optimized page. Not only does this ruin the consumer experience, but a poor execution can also affect purchases.

“Processes that are easy and intuitive for Web sites are often impossible to navigate and cumbersome on a small mobile screen,” Mr. Swartz said.

Do support an integrated mobile commerce site with mobile-specific trigger point marketing.
Measurements is a key tool for marketers, especially those that are looking to better target consumers.

“If you integrate mobile commerce site with mobile-specific trigger point marketing real stores, packaging, collateral or traditional print ads can serve as access points to the mobile site – via QR codes and NFC – and then track the success of the campaign via actual sales generated,” said Wilson Kerr, vice president of business development and sales at Unbound Commerce, Boston.

Don’t treat all mobile commerce channels the same.
Tablets and smartphones are different devices, and should be treated so.

“A tablet is not a smartphone and a smartphone is not a tablet,” Mr. Kerr said. “Understand consumer usage and do not fall into the single site for all touch points trap.”

Do think about your brand’s location-relevance.
Marketers should not only think about their store location, but also consider venues where their target audience would likely be receptive to mobile marketing and mcommerce.

“From sports arenas to airports, gyms, even dog parks – reaching a consumer in a mindset to make a purchase does not need to be confined to areas around a store or mall,” said Alistair Goodman, CEO of Placecast.

Don’t just take existing online or Sunday-circular offers and push them into mobile.
Deals are great.

And, offers and discounts help marketers entice consumers.

However, pushing out deals that consumers find everywhere else creates a poor experience.

“Consider instead creating promotions specific to the mobile channel and taking advantage of the highly personalized aspects of the medium – incorporating preferences, past purchase behavior and links to other marketing touch points,” Mr. Goodman said.

“This will translate to higher lifetime customer value,” he said.

Do start geotargeted and timed offers.
Since mobile devices are with consumers at all times of the day, they best way to increase sales and conversion for an offer is to send consumers geotargeted deals and offers in their area rather at the most optimal time for action.

“For example, when Jack in the Box wants to promote a lunch special, they target specific regions using their consumers zip codes and they send out the offer via MMS before lunch time to convert any one who is still making decisions regarding what to get for lunch,” said James Citron, CEO of Mogreet.

“Retailers should tailor their mobile communications to the most targeted audience by using geo-targeting and timed delivery,” he said.

Don’t forget to include a call-to-action.
Even with a great offer or incentive, it’s crucial to include a specific call-to-action within every message or mobile tactic your brand uses.

“Customers need to have an action presented to them to encourage a conversion and further engagement,” Mr. Citron said. “If you send an SMS or MMS message blast with information about a new product, include a link to find out more about the product or a link for purchase.

“Just providing a specific link and call-to-action will capture more conversions,” he said.

Do make checkout simple.
Consumers are increasingly turning to their mobile devices to make purchases. Therefore, having a quick and efficient checkout process is crucial.

“Our data shows that clients with fewer steps in their checkout process experience significantly higher funnel conversion rates,” said Chris Mason, cofounder/CEO of BrandingBrand.

Don’t direct all traffic to the homepage.
If a marketer is running a campaign that promotes a specific product, the creative should lead consumers to that product page, rather than the main homepage.

Fewer steps and more of seamless experience is key for mobile commerce success.

“When users click product links in a search result or email, they expect to go to that specific page,” Mr. Mason said.

“Make sure your mobile deep-links work just like they do on your full site,” he said.

Final Take
Rimma Kats is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York

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

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