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Mobile marketing needs to offer value

June 28, 2014

One of the top focuses for most retailers today is selling products in the online sector. Not just to desktop consumers though - mobile shoppers, who access e-commerce pages via smartphones and tablets, are the fastest growing customer base in the entire retail industry.

One of the top focuses for most retailers today is selling products in the online sector. Not just to desktop consumers though – mobile shoppers, who access e-commerce pages via smartphones and tablets, are the fastest growing customer base in the entire retail industry. In fact, organizations in all industries are focusing on and brainstorming ideas for how they can attract more mobile shoppers. Multiple speakers at a recent conference offered the same advice: you have to offer applications and marketing campaigns with added value to consumers via mobile – you can’t just send them texts and emails promoting your products. 

A report from Mobile Commerce Daily detailed how an IBM executive told listeners at a mobile commerce conference that if too many generic promotional messages are sent to consumer smartphones by brands, then this form of marketing will end up being seen as “the new spam.” Jay Henderson, who’s the strategy director at IBM, warned that this practice would drive consumers away, rather than direct them to mobile credit card payment processing pages. 

“Messaging gets more complicated and more dangerous as we start to mix unique characteristics in mobile such as push notifications,” said Henderson, according to the news outlet. “In mobile the danger is we alienate our customers and make them dislike our brands. Understanding your customers is not just collecting information and data points, its understanding in context those data points and then engaging with consumers to then optimize your strategy.”

Henderson concluded his presentation by proving just how important mobile sales are, and will continue to be, for e-commerce retailers. According to Mobile Commerce Daily, he stated that IBM data found that roughly 30 percent of all traffic to e-commerce websites during the past holiday season came from smartphones and tablets. That number is likely only going to increase – IBM expects that roughly 40 percent of all traffic will be coming from those devices this year. Clearly, for e-commerce retailers, attracting mobile shoppers is essentially the top priority right now. and, if you want to do so successfully, you can’t be messaging and marketing to them via generic means. 

Yankee Group exec says mobile isn’t about marketing, it’s about ‘the journey’
Another Mobile Commerce Daily report detailed a separate presentation given at the same conference, by Sheryl Kingstone, research director for the Yankee Group. She also spoke against generic forms of mobile marketing, stressing that retailers need to provide their customers and “followers” with promotional items that provide value – such as messages regarding coupons, loyalty programs and personalized messages – if they want their consumers to continue accepting the mobile messages that they send.

“Understand that it isn’t just about one initiative, it’s about understanding across initiatives,” said Kingstone, the news outlet reported. “The closer you get to customers the better the offer will be because you will understand them more.”

Kingstone concluded her presentation by, much like Henderson, stressing how important mobile sales and mobile consumers are becoming to an e-commerce company’s success. She provided some statistics to prove her point, according to the news outlet: 9 out of every 10 Americans currently own a mobile phone, 250 million smartphones are expected to be in use within 3 years, and consumers currently spend 60 percent of the time they dedicate to smartphones looking at applications – many of which are likely linked to e-commerce providers and mobile credit card payment processing pages. Clearly, this arena is as important as any other for retailers looking to increase their revenue. 

“Mobile is not just about the transaction,” Kingstone said, according to Mobile Commerce Daily. “What it is is about the journey.”

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