The emergence of cross-channel and omni-channel strategies have been a vital tool for many retailers to engage with consumers across different platforms. Some companies have embraced these strategies and created a retail experience that gives their customers the same experience whether it be on a smartphone, laptop or in person. However a recent study carried out by Altimeter Group has found that a lot of companies are still not utilizing mobile strategies as a customer experience in itself but merely as part of the retail journey.
The research found that the companies with poor mobile marketing strategies have low budget and poor staff allocation for their mobile initiatives. Mobile is treated as a ‘bolt on’ to their already existing digital initiatives. Consumers are learning quickly to function in an increasingly mobile world, with one-third of shoppers using mobile exclusively, and over half seeing mobile the most important tool in the purchase decision process. 90 percent of consumers still move between different purchase platforms in order to accomplish a goal, with an average of three screen combinations each day. Having to move from mobile to laptop to make a purchase may lose customers to other retailers who allow purchases and a great customer experience via mobile.
A survey by Tecmark in October of 2014 found that in the UK (where 53.7 percent of the population use a smartphone) the average user carries out 221 functions every day on their smartphone, compared to 140 on desktop or laptop computers. Statista estimates that by 2018 there will be 220 million smartphone users in the USA alone. Figures like that are a huge indicator of the necessary shift towards better marketing approaches for mobile.
One example of a company with an excellent mobile strategy that is easy to use and seamless across devices is Amazon. The mobile app has the range of items available on its mobile platform as it does on tablet or laptop computers. It is incredibly easy to use and if a customer wishes to start a shop on their phone and then want to access their basket on another device the basket contents can still be accessed. The seamless transition across all devices makes the customers experience incredibly easy.
Altimeter Group reached out to 20 leading mobile strategists and executives from companies such as Zappos and Mastercard in order to find out what they believed were the best plans for implementing a strong mobile initiative. They found that the secret to mobile success lies in developing the digital and mobile strategies individually whilst also bringing them together in order to deliver an integrated customer experience.
Companies need to truly understand the needs of the customer’s digital experience and the role that mobile can play then they can proceed in designing their mobile platform. Mobile strategies should not just be a bolt on to the rest of the digital strategy but a customer experience in itself. By first understanding the customer they can then create better experiences for them and better turnover for themselves.
About the Author: Harry Kempe, a marketing intern at IIR USA, who works on various aspects of the industry including social media, marketing analysis and media. He is a recent graduate of Newcastle University who previously worked for EMAP Ltd. and WGSN as a marketing assistant on events such as the World Architecture Festival, World Retail Congress and Global Fashion Awards. He can be reached at hkempe@IIRUSA.com.