For my inaugural post as the resident Plastic Mobile intern, I’d like to focus on the eTail event we attended last week where I learned a number of interesting facts and stats about m-commerce.
First, and this one made my jaw-drop, a stat reported in late april by the eTailing Group in their annual merchant study, Making the Right Choices in a Connected World: Customer Experience Escalation: 85 percent of merchants say mobile commerce is a focus in 2012, up from 68 percent in 2011.
With nearly four out of five respondents suggesting that m-commerce is in their strategies, the mobile retail arena is about to get a lot more competitive. With so many merchants now simultaneously making the move to mobile, they will have to quickly develop effective mobile strategies that will also help engage their customers and bring their brands into the new world of mobile retail. I for one hope that the need for speed won’t hinder the need for quality initiatives.
Second, the Interactive Bureau reports in their study, Mobile Phone Shopping Diaries May 2012, that 73 percent of consumers say they have used their mobile phones in a store and that 40 percent of respondents said they want mobile ads to allow them to browse the brand’s broader product offering. This is interesting because it suggests that retailers can look to in-store mobile solutions and other alternatives to just mobile websites.
For instance, earlier this month Sephora went through a complete Digital Makeover. Their new and exciting cross-channel initiative includes a new mobile app with improved UX, sharper search capabilities, m-commerce enabled shopping and all the social network bells and whistles. Some of Sephora’s stores are seeing iOS devices being launched in-store to allow sales agents to speed up checkout times with mobile POSs. Other stores are implementing in-store iPads that provide extensive product information, style tips that customers can send to themselves via email and, of course, more social media integration.
There are definitely other brands implementing some fantastic m-commerce initiatives, but Sephora stood out to me as a leader because of the grand scale and quality of this mobile initiative.
Last, a recent study by Juniper Research estimates that mobile transaction volume will grow to $670 billion by 2015! I can’t wait to see which brands will follow Sephora’s fantastic example and make that prediction a reality.
So there you have it, a few interesting m-commerce stats and one very extensive and exciting new initiative to enhance consumers retail experiences.
Do you have your own mobile insights or thoughts on other great initiatives? Tweet us at @plasticmobile and let us know!
For more recent information on m-commerce, and to learn about the initiatives of other brands, I recommend some of the following articles:
A hot-off-the-press comScore report presents the 2012 Mobile Future in Focus – and things are looking good for mobile!
ComScore examines last year’s mobile landscape through “an exploration of key trends driving smartphone adoption growth, mobile media use in categories such as social networking and retail, mobile ecosystem dynamics, and shifts in multi-device digital media consumption.”
From a proliferation of public WiFi access, an insurgence of app usage in health and commerce to the ongoing battle for top mobile platform – now led by Apple and Android – the report shows that mobile has been the hot topic in tech since early last year.
The report is lengthy and covers those myriad avenues of mobile influence, but one thing is consistent across mobile usage and industries: as mobile continues to grow as a part of core comprehensive marketing strategies, it becomes increasingly important for brands to understand how current trends are shaping the mobile environment – and how the mobile space is shaping future trends.
The report does highlight a few interesting emerging trends, one of which is mobile’s advancement of social media users to interact with brands in the commerce arena.
The study found that, by the end of last year, nearly one in every five mobile (smartphone) users scanned product barcodes and one in eight compared prices on their phone while shopping in an actual brick-and-mortar location.
As mobile retail usage grows retailers are faced with the challenge of understanding how audiences interact with their mobile devices while shopping to take advantage of any opportunities to increase customer conversation and conversion.
Of course, gender behaviours varied – as they are want to do – when it came to mobile commerce. Males preferred to do product research on-the-go, while females were more likely to use their devices to share their shopping experience socially (ahem, Pinterest?). The latter finding is interesting considering we think 2012 will showcase and interesting menage a trois for the mobile + commerce + social media equation.
What do you think? Will mobile and social media continue to change the way we browse and buy from retailers? Tweet us @plasticmobile with your thoughts, comments and general mobile musings.
What happens when you don’t go mobile? Well, you can ask Sears and K-Mart – that is if you can find a store that’s still open (was that mean?).
Sears recently announced it would be closing between 100 and 120 Sears and K-Mart stores because of abismal holiday sales numbers, and the blame fingers are pointing at e-commerce, mobile and social technology, among others.
An article in Forbes suggests that brick-and-mortar stores are becoming little more than showrooms for shoppers to see, hear, touch and smell (?) the products in real life, before they turn online to make their actual purchases. The article also states that the depleted economy is partially to blame, suggesting that recession-shocked shoppers are looking for the best steals and deals to make their buys, which can often be found online. Take for instance Amazon’s most recent app that actually encourages consumers to walk into retail stores and quickly and easily compare costs to the online giant’s low low prices. Greedy or genius, one thing is certain; Amazon saw an opportunity to use mobile commerce to its advantage, and boy did it take it.
So how can real-life retailers marry their needs with consumer needs to better battle the inherent advantages of online? One answer lies in the many benefits of mobile marketing and social media to bolster brand presence and awareness.
The fact is, the mobile space is developing at an amazing pace. And, more and more brands such as Lexus and American Airlines are finding new and exciting ways to harness the power of mobile to increase the value of their brands through providing better service and consumer experiences.
It should come as no surprise that consumers are relying more and more on their mobile smart devices – haven’t we all seen someone nearly walk into someone else (or a lamp post, if you’re lucky) while they talk, text or play on their favourite pocket pal? In an Oracle research report published in May of 2011, the stats showed that mobile commerce is growing dramatically and that that three in 10 consumers are making mobile purchases, and close to half are researching and browsing products and services on their mobile devices. The simple conclusion: mobile is becoming a connector of all other shopping channels.
AND, the beauty of the mobile arena is that it still remains largely untapped, so the potential for innovation is boundless. With the financial resources available to large big box stores like Walmart and Best Buy, finding new and exciting ways for people to utilize their mobile smart phones could be a critical move to their future.
Had Sears better adapted to the evolving digital space, making it easier, cheaper and more convenient for shoppers to get what they wanted from retail locations, maybe they wouldn’t be looking bleakly into a similar fate to the dodo.
What do you think? Could Sears have saved itself some stores, and possibly some $, if they had innovated using e- and m-commerce?
Remember January 2010 when people working at charities had a “holy Mobile!” moment? Remember the instant when nonprofit organizations realized that mobile giving is a game changer when the American Red Cross raised 7%(more than 32 million) of all funds benefiting the Haiti earthquake crisis via mobile? Many believe that mobile giving reached a tipping point with response to the Haiti crisis last year but we know that this year it’ll grow even more.
In the old days, everyone had a charity box at home but that’s been supplanted by online and mobile giving, available to donors at any time. The mobile giving market represents the next step in this evolution, and is growing exponentially. We believe there’s never been a better time to start a mobile initiative than right now. In fact many experts believe that mobile giving has the ability to match or even outperform online donations.
Giving on-the-go and cause marketing via mobile media is the next trend for nonprofits and charities, and you have the chance to take advantage of the emerging mobile medium before consumers start getting bombarded by text messages asking for donations. And it doesn’t stop with raising money; nonprofits are also using mobile to share their organizational messages, stimulate volunteerism, and increase engagement and interactivity.
Although raising money via mobile giving is the primary goal for nonprofit organizations, mobile is more than just a fundraising tool. Therefore, it’s important to view the mobile channel not only as a mechanism for donations but also realize the benefit from the fact that the mobile phone is the most personal device to launch creative campaigns on, that reach for the heart and the pocketbook.
There are endless opportunities in the mobile channel. Mobile technology dramatically changed how consumers interact with brands and brands that understand consumer mobile behaviour will ensure success as the channel evolves. Still not convinced that mobile is game changing for nonprofits? Then read this:
Why is mobile a big deal for charities and nonprofits?
The bottom line is that entering the world of mobile marketing could open up many new fundraising opportunities for your nonprofit organization. So, before it gets too late in the game to be on the cutting edge, integrate mobile into your multichannel marketing activities and benefit from “ the channel du jour”. Interested yet? Need help from industry experts? Give us a shout and will help you with all your mobile related needs.