Commentary

Mobile Commerce & the New Rules of Engagement

ABI Research predicts that by 2015, shoppers worldwide will spend $119 billion via mobile purchases. Retailers positioned for this growth can reap the rewards including increased customer engagement, greater revenue and securing lifetime customers. The most successful mobile commerce sites today blend unique customer experiences with advanced mobile context to deliver a personalized, relevant interaction.  Mobile marketing is all about context.  The context of the user while mobile is everything.  Zapping a UPC symbol while retail shopping?  Show me the lowest price and where it is available. 

In any relationship, engagement drives interaction and longevity. In relationships between retailers and their customers, engagement levels intuitively correlate with initial conversions and repeat purchases. Fostering high levels of engagement therefore entails adhering to the new rules of customer engagement — which are, in fact, modern twists on proven strategies that marketers have used for decades.

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A “360-degree view of the customer” has been a popular sales concept since the 1990s. It pertains to having access to information about customers’ past, present and future behaviors.

  • The past is a meaningful and easily digested view of the individual customer’s history, including purchases, returns, activity on the web and mobile sites and across all channels of interaction: email and social, as well as QR codes and in-store point of purchase.  
  • The present requires intuitively presenting the right information to each customer, in the moment, based on a unique visitor’s “digital body language,” if available, or a new visitor’s “digital fingerprint.”
  • The future: Predicting what the customers’ needs are. When will they precisely need it?  How can I we be compelling and present right at the time of decision? What are the cross-sell/up-sell opportunities?

With the shift in purchasing to predominantly digital channels, relationships have followed, making it easier than ever for customers to stay engaged with the companies and brands they love. Consumers want to stay connected, informed, entertained and inspired. But as the conversation skips between the website, mobile devices and tablets, email and social mediums like Facebook and Twitter, and in-store interactions, how can commerce marketers keep up?

To carry on any conversation, the content must be relevant, timely and compelling at the precise time of decision.  This is why context is so relevant to A) engaging that customer and B) retaining them.  Because we always know what they need when they need it.  The WHEN is vital. We can go a couple of weeks without that TV, but we won’t go a day without diapers.   WHEN is the critical element, the context of the shopper, and on a mobile commerce site, to definitively know what engages visitors and what doesn’t, content, design and interaction flows must be tested. There is limited real estate on the screen and one of the best exercises is to identify the ‘signal from the noise’, what is most important to which type of shopper and testing shopper experiences leads to  solid and proven improvements.

Recognizing that mobile commerce site visitors take different paths and have different intents, a digital finger­print goes much deeper, analyzing visitors’ digital body language to intensify customer engagement. Sensing visitor needs based on digital body language and adapting content and offers helps deliver a personalized experience.

Sustaining high levels of engagement is the key to driving conversions for initial and repeat purchases. Marketers need to ensure a compelling, personalized mobile experience that will create more opportunity for sales and generate more revenue.

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