Monday, 27 June 2011
Smartphones are making people smarter, and they’re being used less as phones every day. People are using their mobile devices to simplify the tasks of daily life, and smart shopping is high on the list.
That much was obvious last week at the Mobile Marketing Association Forum, held in New York. One of the panels that drew high interest centered on how consumers are using mobile devices not just to buy goods and services but to find stores, contact businesses and make informed decisions prior to making a purchase at the traditional point of sale.
The results of a Google-commissioned study, The Mobile Movement: Understanding Smartphone Users, revealed the following about U.S. smartphone owners:
•58 percent use their devices to go online daily
•70 percent using them while in-store
•74 percent make a purchase as a result of information obtained via their phone
People who are using smartphones to shop are being converted to purchase either in-store, online or even on their phones. There are numerous paths, and in-store merchandising and mobility are destined to become more closely linked, because engagement across channels and media has become commonplace and expected by consumers. Consumers want a seamless experience between online at home, on their mobile device and in the store.
At the Forum, John Hadl, CEO of Brand in Hand, shared his insights that, at the core, mobile satisfies the consumer’s desire to self-promote, look good and get information that helps him make decisions, engage in commerce, maintain relationships and be entertained.
Some of these desires are fulfilled when consumers interact on their phones with digital signage. Others will be fulfilled when they grab information viewed on a kiosk via text message or when they scan a 2-D bar code and link to it on their mobile device. Mobile lends connectivity and portability to a time-strapped consumer.
Consumer behavior is evolving rapidly. Retailers and brands readily admit they do not have strategies and tactics figured out yet. The message from panelists at the Forum was that retailers should test, learn, refine and test again. Marketers are working to find out what consumers want, when they want it and where they want it.
If we are to serve our clients well, we must be along on this journey with them. We as an industry need to facilitate the education and serve as an advocate for our clients. Kiosks and digital signage are activating media for the integrated cross-channel marketing programs for brands and retailers. We must be attuned to their strategies and keep track of shopper activity to engage consumers the way they want to be engaged.
The result of successful engagement is trial; the result of successful trial is loyalty. The end result of brand loyalty is a relationship that allows the customer to have input. When successful, you have created an evangelist for your brand!
The path to purchase will not be solely facilitated by mobile technology or another technology medium; it will be aided by mobile and the engagement of merchandising solutions we have created for retail, often working in tandem. This offers today’s consumers the opportunity for a true one-to-one relationship at retail.