Mobile Redefines Retail, Advertising

AOL entrepreneur Steve Case recently got it right. Every aspect of our lives will be transformed over the next decade by existing technology—namely mobile connectivity— rather than by major breakthroughs.
 
Look no further than the way mobile commerce is reshaping the retail experience and redefining advertising this holiday season. It's reflected in the multifaceted way consumers are using their mobile devices to comparison shop and buy.
 
The comparison shop use of apps, links and QR codes on mobile devices in stores and online is staggering, presenting new marketing challenges and opportunities to businesses of all size. On Cyber Monday, 58% of consumers used smartphones and 42% used tablets to surf for bargains, according to IBM. Mobile and tablets accounted for 24% online shopping (quadrupled from two years ago) on Black Friday, a day historically reserved for in-store shopping.
 
Consumers are relying on their smartphone sand tablets as much in-store to check prices and engage in free shipping virtual transactions as they did to research purchases ahead of time, according to eMarketer.
 
While that is one important touchpoint in the changing landscape, it underscores the new mandate companies should adopt heading into the new year: Reach mobile consumers with personalized information, offers and transactions that cater to their interests and needs at any moment they use the medium. Embrace the fragmentation and mine deluge of consumer data being generated that is business’ new valuable, actionable currency.
 
That poses a critical question for companies selling goods and services: How to capitalize on this seismic shift in commerce and marketing to generate new revenues in 2013? How will mobile strategies be integrated into operations and budgets next year?
 
The best place to start is with an out-of-the-box approach to marketing, buying and even content in our exploding interactive state. We are redefining the customer experience and the very essence of advertising, marketing, content and transactions.  
 
Mobile commerce, which will be generating more than $1 trillion in revenues by 2015, is already mainstream in many forms. About two-thirds of this year’s $19 billion in mobile monetization is being generated by apps with the remainder coming from ads.
 
Although mobile advertising is now at $1.6 billion, it represents a $20 billion near-term opportunity, according to Mary Meeker, the former Wall Street Internet guru with Kleiner Perkins. The global mobile advertising market is already at $12.8 billion. And that’s only if you make the mistake of defining mobile advertising in conventional terms.
 
In fact, mobile apps and all forms of content (including consumer reviews and recommendations and every kind of social bantering) are the new ads. Mobile apps will generate an estimated $30 billion this year, fueled by exploding smartphone and tablet use, which is overriding the desktop.
 
There are already four times as many smartphone users as computer users in the U.S., according to Business Insider. Global mobile traffic is more than 13% of all global Internet traffic, and those numbers will double in the coming year.
 
IBM conservatively estimates that Apple's iPad generates the most traffic of any other tablet or smartphone, driving more than 7% of online shopping. The opportunity for massive ramp-up is within reach, as competitors continue to successfully match Apple’s once unique quality and value proposition. In 2013, the number of smartphones, tablets and other Internet-connected mobile devices will exceed the number of laptop and desktop computers in use.
 
Such statistics paint a picture of mobile consumers more zealous and savvy than what is suggested by a recent Pew study.
 
Mobile connectivity also will continue to transform the last and still powerful bastion of old media – the home TV.
 
The chronic undelivered promise of Apple TV notwithstanding, the lowly television can likely continue to be the top medium influencing purchase decisions as TV advertising and content continue to be redefined across any interactive video screen. That is forcing companies to more creatively capture and monetize video’s aggregate audience as it disperses across multiple mobile platforms and channels.
 
Verizon’s new patented detection system (using infrared cameras and microphones) could take target marketing into new mobile dimensions. Rival Comcast also sees opportunity in leveraging knowledge of consumer behavior and preference to reinvent the video content and advertising experience by emulating Apple products and ecosystem.
But there’s more.
 
A recent New York Times story pointed out one of the obvious drawbacks to providing consumers only what they want--or what marketers think they want--on the bet they are more likely to buy. Consumers will miss seeing, considering and acting on everything else. How to get consumers’ fleeting attention and trigger response long enough to introduce them to what’s not familiar could be an even greater challenge – and opportunity. Try creating a line item for that in next year’s budget.
 
 

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2 comments about "Mobile Redefines Retail, Advertising".
  1. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited , December 17, 2012 at 1:45 p.m.
    Just what we need: more blinders.
  2. Doug Garnett from Atomic Direct , December 17, 2012 at 6:17 p.m.
    I this vastly overstates the change mobile brings to the market. It is a new tool that will be helpful. It will not "redefine" either retail or advertising.