While the mobile industry is having a profound impact on just about every industry imaginable, the retail market may be the one space that has the most to gain due to mobile’s ever-evolving technologies.
The effect the smartphone continues to have on the way consumers connect and engage with retail today is stunning. In examining just how relevant your customers’ smartphones have become in their purchasing process, a recent study conducted by Insight Express Mobile Consumer Research reveals some eye-opening numbers:
• 33% will take a photo of a product to share with others
• 32% will compare prices
• 27% will look for product reviews
• 26% will scan a bar code
• 23% will use a coupon
• 23% will look for a coupon
• 24% of adult iPhone users and 21% of Android users reported using a shopping app in the last three months
Disappearing are the days that consumers were chained to the home or office PC any time they wanted to access the web, and the freedom wireless mobile Internet access affords all is changing the behavior patterns of those surfing the web. In fact, Microsoft Research recently announced that by 2014 mobile Internet usage will officially pass desktop Internet usage.
As almost all wireless handsets now feature Internet access (along with a variety of additional handheld devices), it’s important for retailers to factor that into their online and mobile marketing strategy moving forward. Simply stated, consumers today are online . . . constantly.
“It is so much a part of their daily activities today, and almost all of the latest smartphones offer an excellent browsing experience. It’s become vital to understand how all demographics are using the devices and bend your business strategy around that,” explained retail analyst Martha Refik. “These devices represent the new way of life for consumers and it’s not just the younger demographics anymore. It’s now spanning all consumer groups.”
Companies like Kansas-based Moblico Solutions (moblico.com), founded by former Sprint Communications employees in 2007, are offering retailers integrated mobile platforms that will help them acquire, retain, transact and support mobile-enabled customers.
Moblico partnered with the imaging industry over a year ago in the form of a comprehensive mobile marketing/marketing services and smartphone application program dubbed SnapShop, to which photo retailers can subscribe.
The program is divided into several components, including exclusive offers to mobile customers in the form of promo texts and mobile coupons as well as an iPhone app that enables these customers to select a photo retailer from a searchable database of program-subscribed retailers. Users then transmit photos from the iPhone to the selected retailer and order prints and other products for pickup or delivery.
There are many other companies like Moblico worth checking out our if you’re having trouble getting a mobile marketing plan off the ground for your location—punchkickinteractive.com; mobilestorm.com and involvemobile.com to name but a few. A good site for a more comprehensive look at what’s out there in the mobile marketing world is mobilemarketingspot.com.
Just one more statistic to leave you with that speaks to the very wireless/mobile future we are all heading into: of the more than 4 billion mobile phones in use in the world today, 1.8 billion are now smartphones. The time to start smartly and creatively communicating to your customers through them was yesterday.