Sellers Reaching Directly to Mobile Shoppers

I continue to be amazed at how many people are not involved in mobile commerce. Not from an industry perspective, but from a pure, individual consumer standpoint.

While waiting for a helpful sales associate at T-Mobile to get a new SIM card to activate my new Samsung Galaxy S3 yesterday, I checked-in on Foursquare, just as a matter of routine.

Up popped a “Welcome to T-Mobile” message on Foursquare offering me a 30 percent discount on any phone accessories, as a first-time check in at the store. Since I needed a screen protector ($30), I got an instant savings of $9.

Since the sales associate had not heard of the deal, I had to show him the message on my phone, which gave clear directions for how a store employee was to execute the discount.

The point is, the employee had never seen the offer before, meaning many customers are leaving money on the table in the course of day-to-day transactions. I see this continually.

I watch people at Staples buy HP printer cartridges at the stated retail price as I take all of three second to scan and price-check the same cartridges, providing hassle-free, price-match discounts at checkout.



The good news, from an mCommerce perspective, is that some companies are coming up with ways to interject themselves in the course of a transaction, as in the case of T-Mobile via Foursquare.

Interestingly, these types of interactions are directly between the brand and the shopper, rather than being rolled out through traditional retail channels.

No sales associate training is needed, other than to advise salespeople to accurately read and follow the directions on the message sent to the phone of the person standing in front of them at checkout.

I’m curious, are you using or seeing such money-savings mobile activities at retail?

5 comments about "Sellers Reaching Directly to Mobile Shoppers".
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  1. Dan Freund from Kinney Hill Media Partners, January 22, 2013 at 3:45 p.m.

    I run into this all the time, especially under-informed sales staff. To me it seems like a rather straight forward, internal communication. More often than not I get blank stares and disbelief that what I'm stating is indeed truthful and accurate.

    As far as price-matching, yes, I have used this successfully - in particular at BestBuy. BestBuy often will have a better deal on products online. They also provide convenient QR Codes on many of their higher end products. I've shown the price-match at the counter and they honor the lower price.

  2. Chuck Martin from Chuck Martin, January 22, 2013 at 3:56 p.m.

    Thanks, Dan, great to hear, and I know what you mean about the blank stares. Then there also is the "let me check with my manager" retort. Yes, many at Best Buy know what you're doing in scanning products.

  3. Chuck Martin from Chuck Martin, January 22, 2013 at 4:38 p.m.

    Thanks Timo, no argument there about cross-channel integration and certainly extending beyond discounts nor about the mobile customer driving the process. Not sure about the full-price scenario, guess we'll have to see how that plays out.

  4. Serena Ehrlich from Business Wire, January 23, 2013 at 2:30 p.m.

    Once again, Chuck, another great piece. I'm writing a blog post about this now and will send the link along. The flaw here is that the brand is outsourcing this relationship to Foursquare. With a text marketing program, a strong call to action within the store could have gotten you the same discount, and the brand could have the opportunity to remarket to you. The customer experience and result would have been the same or in the long run, much better.

    Look for 2013-2015 to be the years that brands take back the relationships they have been outsourcing for years to third party sites (Facebook, Foursquare)!


  5. Chuck Martin from Chuck Martin, January 23, 2013 at 2:42 p.m.

    Thanks Serena, and good point about outsourcing the relationship (or at least the interaction), though no in-store training nationally was required, so understandable. They actually could likely use both approaches. I'll watch for your post, thanks.

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