Monday, June 2, 2014

When Worlds Collide: Email Meets Mobile

I am seeing a huge opportunity for anyone ready and willing to take the next step for the "killer app" for mobile email that finally unleashes the full potential of mobile email.

Consider this series of charts below:

Do you see what I'm seeing?  Something is definitely wrong here.

If the majority of online conversions are coming from email, and if the majority of emails are read on smartphones, then why is less than 1% of conversions coming from smartphones?

There still remains the faction that asserts that smartphones are primarily used for "triaging" emails.  In other words, smartphones being used as first pass filters of emails to delete the irrelevant ones and reserve the remaining important ones to be read on a desktop/laptop/tablet at a later time.

I don't believe that it can be dismissed so easily.

I assert that the problem isn't with the email.  It's what comes after the email -- that's the problem.  Mobile-friendly email design is now gaining momentum since three years ago.  This shift towards the "mobile-first" paradigm is one major reason why email readership on mobile devices continues to grow. But here's the problem:

  1. I read my email on my smartphone (it's actually now my sole email reading device).  
  2. I like the call to action in the email, so I click the link in the email to complete the action on the web site.  
  3. But when my mobile browser launches the landing page, I'm greeted with the most mobile un-friendly experience.  Forget about trying to buy anything.  The payment experience on a mobile device is horrendous -- and that's putting it nicely.

This poor transition from email to web site is exactly like a hot warm up band who gets the audience all fired up and excited to rock and roll.  But the headline band comes on stage and just bombs.  And people in the audience start getting up and walking out.  Been there.  Done that.

At the very least, the mobile experience needs to be the FULL experience.  Don't just stop with the mobile-friendly email.  If the mobile shopping experience and the mobile payment experience isn't there to follow up, then work spent on the mobile email are all for naught.

The M-Commerce ecosystem right now has only two solutions:  mobile web and mobile apps.  The former is the more preferred by a margin of 2 to 1 over the latter.  That makes sense to me.  Mobile apps are used by brand loyalists while the mobile web is used by both brand loyalists and casual buyers alike.

I believe that the frontier is wide open to innovate in the world of m-commerce particularly where it bridges the gap between mobile email and mobile payments.

On that note, I invite you to check out a young startup that has a new way of conducting commerce:  buying something directly from within an email.  The company is @Pay.  I heard about them a while ago and I continue to keep my eye on them.

@Pay calls it their "2-click buy" experience.  When you're reading an email from one of your favorite brands, you see a product that you want to buy.  So you click the "Instant buy" button. (That's Click #1).  Then, your default email program automatically creates a purchase confirmation email that you send back authorizing the purchase.   (That's Click #2).

If you already have an account through @Pay or any of its merchant network, that's all you need.  Your payment information is already on file.  No biggie, right?  You're already used to this experience 'cause you've already done it million times already on iTunes, Google store,, and countless of other places.

iTunes has your credit card info on file.  That lets you buy anything directly from within any iOS app at the click of a button.  Well the @Pay experience is identical -- only now, you're doing it directly from within an email.

It's an interesting bit of technology and it still requires some people willing to try out this new method of payment.

But then again, that's where Paypal was back in the late 90's, and look where they are at now.