Think BR: The mobile shopping experience
Despite tales of gloom and doom on the high street, people are still shopping - they are just doing it more intelligently, writes Gary Cole, commercial director, O2 Media.
Gary Cole, commercial director, O2 Media
Consumers today are tech savvy, eager and thrifty. Encouraging consumers into our shops and spending money is going to be important step in a recovering economy and building consumer confidence.
Many clients and retailers are faced with achieving annual sales in difficult trading circumstances.
Discounting is one way, but many are missing a golden opportunity to drive consumer engagement and loyalty because they are failing to capitalise on the plethora of options available to create a seamless customer journey and grab their attention.
Imagine you are out just browsing, just having a look round.
Now imagine that your phone suddenly beeps and tells you that not only is the store offering you free Wi-Fi - so you can shop online while without eating up your data allowance - but it is also giving you a £15 gift voucher when you spend over £40 and even sending real-time location-based messages to help you navigate the throng, with rich media video messages and offers to inspire your shopping ideas.
This bespoke package exists and was developed for House of Fraser for Christmas this year and is an example of just how far m-commerce has come in the past few months, while also giving us a glimpse at the vast possibilities of where it can go.
It’s clear that the smartphone has become integral to our everyday life. Our research shows that 45% of people say they can’t live without it - so why wouldn’t this have a staggering effect on how consumers shop?
We have also found that 38% of people say they use their phone when deciding whether to buy something and a whopping 77% of people browse online while actually in store.
On the surface this research shows that there is a substantial customer desire to use their mobile to shop, not just whilst the consumer is ‘passing time’ but within the retail store experience itself.
The message under the surface is that this kind of experience is exceptional and not enough marketers are taking the opportunity to exploit this.
It is consumer expectation and use that is growing this market - not just in m-commerce terms, but in the overall journey.
They are looking for a truly seamless customer journey that gives them better service, ease and savings while offering ideas and answering questions - and mobile can deliver this if used correctly.
The relationship consumers have with their phones is constantly changing and our use of this versatile platform and the marketing deployed on it needs to change to reflect this.
It isn’t just early adopters, it is mass market and it all comes down to the notion of a mobile phone becoming a connected device that consumers can’t do without.
They truly trust their mobile device, and therefore - if approached properly - they trust businesses that try to reach them through that medium.
And the mobile shopping experience is only set to get easier. In 2012 smartphone penetration will reach more than 80% and mobile internet usage will exceed fixed internet usage.
Add to the mobile-mix technologies like Wi-Fi, near field communications, wallet and the explosion in QR codes, and suddenly the engagement and shopping experience can undergo a step change.
By this time next year not only will consumers know what a mobile wallet is, they will have purchased something from an m-commerce site or an app and contactless payments will seem quite normal to early adopters.
The 2012 Olympics will also increase the speed of adoption as many players in this space will be using the event as a launch pad to bring their offerings to market.
The shopping experience hasn’t changed for hundreds of years: 2012 will be the year that it makes its long awaited step change forward.
The marketing community needs to be ready to take advantage of an integration of services that will herald a change in the way we shop. The m-commerce evolution will be as significant as the e-commence one.
Gary Cole, commercial director, O2 Media
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