The ubiquity of mobile devices is now a way of life and businesses have recognized its importance as a channel for brand recognition, customer engagement and revenue generation. This is especially true for retail.
According to a recent study by ComScore, U.S. mobile commerce spending jumped 28% in 2014 to $31.6 billion. M-commerce now accounts for 11.8% of total digital commerce. The study pegs the recent acceleration in m-commerce, particularly over the last two quarters as “an inflection point in the long-term development of the mobile market.”
Yet revenue from mobile lags the true potential from the existing traffic on the channel. The study calls it the “monetization gap” between how people use mobile devices for online shopping vs. online buying.
Why is this important for retailers? I think the answer to this question lies in the threat of the missed opportunity. Retailers have invested millions of dollars to convince customers to download their app, or visit their mobile website. While not all consumers that are browsing on mobile for information are looking to make a purchase at that point of time, they do represent an opportunity to convert. Is there any guarantee that once these potential shoppers walk away from the mobile app of a brand, they will indeed go to the brick and mortar store or to their desktop to complete the purchase?
The question then is: What can a brand do to keep these shoppers engaged on mobile so they keep coming back to the brand for more? Can a brand offer a mobile experience that not only fulfills the customer’s desire to glean great information but also to eventually enable outcomes or closure on mobile?
A majority of the reasons for this hesitancy on mobile are related to issues such as the perceived lack of privacy and security, smaller screen size of smartphones, and so on. Most of these issues are not in the hand of the retailers. Yet there are things that retailers can do to engage these customers on mobile to eventually convert. Mobile engagement goes way beyond being optimized for mobile web. It requires brands and their marketers to connect with their customers at the right moment with real-time, contextual and personalized interactions to offer an uber experience that wins the customer over, hook, line and sinker, for lifetime.
Let’s look at an example. Suppose you are looking for a coffee maker. You do a search on Google and you select a link to the store ABC. You are taken to the mobile website or the app of the store where you continue your research by comparing different brands. Some 30 minutes go by and you still haven’t added a coffee maker to your cart. What can the app do to help you make this decision? Can it pop up a message saying, “Here is a link with comparisons of different brands in the $XX price range.” Or “Here is the link to customer ranking for brands of coffee makers within that price range.” Now that’s helpful and impressive for sure!
Intelligent solutions can help businesses select appropriate message or interaction based on customer profile, what they are doing in the app or the size of the transaction. In-app messages and in-app chat can serve savvy users on the go, while the über loyal club can demand a context aware phone call and get one. This provides the app user a highly personalized, real time, seamless user experience that minimizes fallout and maximizes customer success and conversions.