7 key strategies for successful mcommerce
In the age of the consumer, progressive organisations have started to take to an ‘outside-in’ perspective to customer relationship management.
In other words, they are looking through the lens of a customer. Seeing the customers’ view of their organisation from the ‘outside’ and the needs they have. Opposed to the old ‘inside-out’ approach, whereby businesses are myopically looking through the lens of their organisation and subsequently are structured based on what works for their business and not what works their customers.
Steve Sinofsky, former President of Microsoft Windows, refers to the ‘inside-out’ approach as “shipping the org chart”. I think we can all relate to that!
The chances are that as a retailer you have realised that you have to change the mind-set from being an ‘in-side out B2C’ business to an ‘out-side in ‘Human to Business’ (H2B) operation. And when engaging with consumers, aka people, the most H2B of all channels is the smartphone.
These H2B fashioned businesses are sure in the knowledge that 45% of online purchases are made on a mobile device, doubling over the last two years according to Criteo’s research (The State of Mobile Commerce, 2016).
The Perfect Storm
What’s forcing this shift are smarter mobile devices and those internet connected things, combined with ever increasing processing power and higher speed mobile networks that are enabling smarter software services.
These services are making the necessity of omnichannel marcoms technically feasible and financially viable. Connecting the physical world to the digital with: location based services, digital flyers, e-valets, digital signage, intelligent self-service kiosks, vending machines and shop shelving, beacons, video streaming, mobile payments/wallets and checkouts, augmented reality. The list goes on.
Significantly, it’s the customers’ smartphone that is removing the barriers and knitting all these channels together. If you are putting together an omnichannel strategy, then start with a ‘mobile-first’ approach.
Even the more conservative industries have no choice in becoming an H2B organisation with mobile at its centre. Talking to a major law firm recently, they told me that 70% of all their visits to their digital properties are via mobile devices and they are onto it.
Therefore, if your business does not already have a H2B strategy where mobile is pivotal, then your competitors will steal the march at pace. That’s unless your CEO puts this on the monthly board meeting priority agenda as of now, because 38% already have (Mobile Marketing Association, 2017).
It’s Only Just Began
In one sense, this is not strictly correct. All said and done, what is central to mobile commerce is the old age principals of understanding and meeting customers’ expectations.
However, the customer expectation bar is being raised higher creating the ‘Now Society’ fuelled by innovative services being delivered by disruptors that are feeding the consumers insatiable appetite for instant gratification. But what are these expectations?
Just fulfilling a product need does not cut it. To differentiate, mobile services need to make consumers lives better by informing, educating, supporting, reassuring and entertaining them. That’s the premise of mobile commerce. It serves to take the stress and risk out of their lives and makes the whole process of researching, purchasing and consuming frictionless, wherever they are and whatever they are doing.
Most organisations have not fully appreciated this, launching a mobile app without full consideration of just what is expected of this service. No wonder well over 90% of mobile app users stop using the apps after a month (Android Authority, 2016) with 78% using just three or less apps. Nevertheless, according to research by Business of Apps Report, 2017, 75% of consumers use mobile apps daily, enabling brands to relate to customers in a highly personalised way.
mCommerce leads to personalised engagement, purchases and advocacy but not through advertising. Consumers don’t respond to ads on their precious mobile devices and apps. They do however, like things such as simulated instore experiences, such a trying on clothes using augmented reality, as proven by Glam Lab and Gap with their DressingRoom app.
Social networks are very much part of the emotional consumer journey. No wonder they are the most frequently used mobile media channel. With sites like Pinterest launching ‘Lens’, it’s clear to see how fast this channel is progressing and tapping into consumer trends and preferences. Using Lens consumer can take a picture on their phone, send it to Pinterest that will find comparable products, gain feedback from their friends to help with the decision and then enable a purchase.
Making mCommerce Work and Pay – Seven Strategies
There is no doubt that mobile commerce continues to intensify with over half of organisations already being impacted by the change in consumer behaviour and the rise in digital disruptors etc. with the other 50% expecting an even greater impact (Mobile Marketing Association, 2017).
Research suggests that most organisations do not have a mCommerce plan despite budgets for mobile set to increase by 20% in the next four years (Mobile Commerce Report, WBR Digital, 2017).
So there is intent but not sense. Therefore, here are a 7 key strategies, in no particular order of priority:
- Make mCommerce a strategic boardroom mandate, no matter what business you are in.
- Ensure that the mobile services make consumers’ lives better. That the services are really both useful and usable (Technology Acceptance Model, 1989).
- Use mobile to connect the dots across channels to get to omnichannel. Don’t create another separate channel.
- Capture data, particularly location data, and use analytics and insight to personalise experiences, optimise and measure the ROI. Match and marry mobile data with all other customer data. Don’t create another data puddle, create a data lake.
- Use digital marketing technology that is a unified platform performing points two to four to keep the cost of operations down, enable agility and brand messaging consistency.
- Don’t abdicate your strategy to a creative marketing agency. Take control.
- Check out and learn from the masters of mobile; Nike, Coca-Cola and Samsung.
Paul Fennemore is a C-Suite Level Digital Transformation and Customer Experience Consultant at Sitecore, and an Associate Lecturer in Digital Marketing at Oxford Brookes University. Paul has an MSc with Distinction in Digital Marketing from Oxford Brookes University.