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According to Retail Customer Experience, a June 2013 report revealed that more than half (55 percent) of all retail-related internet time originated on smartphones and tablet devices combined, with just 45 percent originating from desktop devices. It also reported that between Q2 2012 and Q2 2013, m-commerce grew 24 percent, compared to 16 percent growth in e-commerce as a whole. The need to market for m-commerce rings especially true for retail – one of the fastest-growing industries among consumers. From June 2012 to June 2013, the industry grew 49 percent as a content category on smartphones. Retail may be the first to be affected and the fastest to adapt to the m-commerce movement, but these numbers could be indicative of more developments to come in other industries.
How are smartphones being used by consumers?
- One-third (35 percent) of smartphone owners in Q2 2013 used their device to locate a store, one-quarter (24 percent) used it to find coupons and deals, and 19 percent used it to look up product availability.
- Nearly two-thirds of smartphone owners in Q2 2013 used a browser to research product features and more than half used a browser to find a store location and to find coupons/deals. Seven in 10 smartphone owners report using only apps to make shopping lists, as well as 46 percent who do so to view daily deals.
- Apparel and accessories (37 percent) and event tickets (25 percent) were among the top products that smartphone shoppers bought with their device during Q2 2013.
What does this mean for my business?
In short, mobile devices and actions are no longer secondary – they’re reigning supreme. They have revolutionized the way that consumers interact with businesses. It’s becoming increasingly important for U.S. companies to invest in this trend and not only meet, but exceed their customers’ technological expectations. They must adapt their marketing toward m-commerce in order to succeed amidst the emerging mobile trend. If they are late to the party then they risk becoming irrelevant – losing or alienating customers. To meet needs and exceed expectations, businesses should develop custom Apple and Android apps and offer opportunities to interact through their website. Otherwise, they will seek out your competitor’s app and site. In Q2 this year, nearly six in 10 (57 percent) smartphone users visited the same company’s site or app while in the store, compared to 43 percent who consulted another company’s site or app. The top reason consumers consulted the retailer’s or another company’s website or app was to view price differences. It is also important to reward your leads and customers with exclusive offers through your app, site or social media profile. Most of them expect it. Among the smartphone users who went to the same retailer’s site, 59 percent wanted to see if there was an online discount available.
How are other businesses marketing for m-commerce?
Let’s take teen clothing retailer Wet Seal for example. According to Mobile Shopping, an m-commerce forum, their “Runway” app allows customers to enter their brick-and-mortar stores, scan barcodes on items and see outfits that have been styled with that item by others in the social community, allowing for cross-selling opportunities. Talk about leveraging the social channel and providing stellar marketing for m-commerce. I outgrew that store years ago and now I feel myself wanting to revisit it just to try out the app. More m-commerce ideas:
- QR codes on merchandise or marketing material
- Instagram campaigns and contests
- PayPal payment options on website
- Location-based information and offers
- Free in-house Wi-Fi
- Call to action buttons, like “click to call”
- Virtual tours
- Mobile-only ads
Ignoring this emerging trend — and not doing any marketing for m-commerce — would be short-sighted to say the least. With m-commerce, you can impress your leads and customers with innovative technology, give your campaigns a competitive edge and allow your customers to engage with your brand from anywhere in the world.