Mobile Devices, most particularly smartphones are now becoming an indispensable tool for helping consumers when it comes to their daily shopping activities. The savviest of consumers are now using their smartphones and their tablets to find current bargains, compare product prices, check availability of inventory in local stores while receiving “hot” promotional alerts as well as electronic rebates and coupons which can be scanned while in the store. All this from their mobile devices while on their daily shopping expeditions.
In a recent survey, there were close to 45% percent of consumers who now own a web enabled smartphone who’ll actually use them while they’re out shopping. They rely on the phones for doing the majority of their shopping related tasks. This includes reading online unbiased product reviews or searching for immediate money saving promotions.
Furthermore, 75% percent of these mobile phone users indicated that they’re currently receiving coupons, instant price alerts and deals on products directly on their mobile phones, which are sent to them from the retail stores that they frequent.
Since there’s a significant number of mobile devices in use which are now smartphones, these statistics prove that utilizing any type of mobile promotion in the retailers marketing arsenal is becoming vital. They cannot no longer afford to lag behind and ignore these mobile shoppers when it comes to their own promotion and selling their goods.
This new “mobile channel” is compared to and an adjunct to other consumer based shopping channels. Shoppers are now continuously wanting to get immediate information to help them decide immediately while their shopping and the way they do so is by using their trusty web enabled mobiles.
Since there’s such a huge projected growth of these mobile devices, retailers who are in the channel are required to immediately step up their game by adding creativity, while those who are not currently participating needs to get in now.
Mobile Marketing Is Different
For the majority of retailers, the initial step which needs to be taken is reducing the huge “footprint” size of their current websites which caters to the home PC. They’ll need to adjust accordingly so it’ll be easier to view and use on the much smaller smartphone screens.
Retailers will also need to be able to understand the specialized needs of the mobile shopper and address them as effectively as possible. For instance, mobile shoppers prefer to find instant “key” information on products, this includes prices as well as availability, without needing to scroll down. So all the vital information needs to be above the fold on the smartphone screen.
They like larger clearly marked navigation tabs which they’re able to touch and move easily. It’s becoming common for mobile shoppers with larger fingers to become extremely frustrated with all the current smaller navigation tabs which are hard to press without mistakenly pressing a different tab nearby.
Mobile smartphone shoppers are also looking for a completely different online experience than they’re getting from their home PC or even the larger tablet PCs. So it’s vitally important to understand their own unique needs as well as expectations.
These mobile shoppers are consumers who are constantly out and on the move, and they’re looking for prompt bits of immediate information as well as easy to touch navigation tabs. They don’t want, or care, or be overwhelmed with unnecessary options.
Should You Have A Mobile Site or A Mobile App
While for these mobiles, less is obviously more when it comes to smartphones. Consumers are still however expecting a rich and exciting browser experience.
There are the two obvious paths which the retailers can take to satisfy these mobile shoppers. You can build a user friendly mobile specific website or construct a few mobile apps.
Apps are also able to take advantage of the features which are built into the handset, such as the smartphone being able to report its GPS location for example. This way, the app is then able to show a shopper immediate deals at a nearby store based on where they are. Apps are also able to take advantage of other native functionality of the smartphones such as the calender, contacts and photos, etc.
But there are a few downsides to the apps as well. One is that apps for the iPhone are only specific for the iPhone itself, while Android apps will only work on Android devices. This unless of course you provide apps for both or all operating systems. Building just one app restricts the retailer to just reaching a small fraction of the mobile shoppers.
The larger mobile retailers currently offer apps for all of the major devices OS which is obviously recommended. But creating, upgrading and maintaining these apps for all the different platforms can become money and time consuming.
When it comes to apps specific for the iPhone or the iPad, getting a newly developed app approved for inclusion in Apple’s exclusive App Store requires complying with Apple’s stringent requirements as well. And whenever there happens to be an upgrade to the iOS or advancements made on the handset itself, the app then needs to be updated and re-approved again.