Friday, October 12, 2012

Mobile Commerce is Growing: Are You Ready?

Just got back from Internet Retailer's Mobile Marketing and Commerce Forum in San Diego.  Kudos to the program team for putting together an agenda that included all the hot topics and buzzwords in mobile marketing including: Mobile Apps vs. Mobile Web, M-Commerce and T-Commerce, Showrooming, Responsive Design, HTML5, 2D Codes, Augmented Reality, and Apple's new Passbook app.

Here are my ten takeaways from what I learned:
  • Ad spending in the mobile channel is only 2% of total.  But  20% of holiday e-commerce sales are expected to be done via mobile devices.  There is huge room for improvement in mobile advertising.
  • More proof that retailers need to focus their attention on the mobile shopping experience:  the click-through-rate on mobile devices is 2X-5X higher than from desktop computers, but the conversion rate is 3x-4x lower. 
  • More indicators that shopping is going mobile:  Purchases from tablets are up 200% and purchases from smartphones are up 100% from previous year.  At the same time, purchases from desktops are down 20%.
  • 78% of smartphone owners use their devices during in-store purchases.  But most consumers don't "showroom" as their main shopping behavior.  They only do it when the in-store experience fails them.
  • 75% of first items scanned on a smartphone in-store are purchased in the same store.  Is showrooming really a problem, or it is just an urban myth?
  • Mobile apps vs. Mobile Web?  The answer is "both" not "either-or."  With space on smartphones at a premium, mobile apps are for loyal customers.  Mobile web is great for acquiring new customers.
  • A seamless and easy mobile payment experience will make or break a mobile shopping app.  Easy checkout can give 30% lift to sales made from mobile devices.
  • Augmented Reality isn't just for walking down the street and seeing where all your Facebook peeps are within eyesight.  It also provides an effective in-home shopping experience for the right products.  Some retailers are experimenting with this technology to showcase their catalog of curtains, window blinds, artwork, and furniture as they would virtually appear within the shopper's own home.
  • HTML5 and Pinterest-esque layouts are two factors that will be driving the next generation of web sites.  "Design first for the tablet - then for everything else" was one common theme.
  • Consumers aren't shy about buying from mobile devices.  Case in point: $1095 Lasik Surgery package purchased on Groupon from a mobile device.