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Would you rather leave home without your wallet or your phone? A global study discovered that a resounding 3 out of 4 of people would take their phone over their wallet. This makes sense – the idea of reaching into your pocket for one device to manage most aspects of your day makes it hard to consider leaving it behind. Whether it is consuming content, calling and texting, sending emails, playing games or watching videos, smartphones have become the singular touch point to manage life at virtually any place and/or time. It seems like smartphones are doing everything, except filling the shoes of the one thing that people would hypothetically leave behind – a wallet.
Despite our reliance on mobile devices, there aren’t many mobile shopping options that replace the function of traditional wallets. However, many brands are bringing more meaningful mobile opportunities to shoppers. Brands typically invest in mobile Mobicommerce experiences in three ways: in-store mobile transactions, apps and web extensions that assist shoppers in-store and online, and mobile advertising campaigns involving mobile shopping behaviors.
For brands integrating mobile into the retail shopping experience, transactional smartphone apps are bringing new efficiency to the in-store purchase process. Mobile solutions that showcase this marriage of mobile and purchase include, Starbucks’ mobile app, Square Wallet, Google Wallet and Passbook. In fact, Starbucks is a noted success. As of July 2013, mobile payments accounted for 10% of all Starbucks in-store purchases. Yet, despite this sparkling mobile victory by Starbucks, many brick and mortar retailers haven’t embrace mobile payment apps. A key issue is the lack of standardized retail infrastructure needed to support the mobile payment process. While Starbucks has equipped mobile scanning readers in all their stores for the acceptance of mobile payment, most retailers have not integrated such technology.
Besides facilitating in-store transactions, brands and agencies are also making strides in mobile commerce to engage consumers through optimized mobile WAP sites and apps. To draw consumers to direct shopping opportunities, brands are developing robust smartphone and tablet experiences that aid customers in making purchases more effectively virtually anywhere. The CVS/pharmacy app has taken on both tasks by enabling consumers to make purchases in-store and/or shop and manage prescriptions when away from retail spaces. The app provides more value by helping consumers find the nearest store, view weekly ads based on geography and engage with an assortment of pharmacy tools to refill or transfer prescriptions. Additionally, users can also find and attend CVS-sponsored health screening events. Engaging customers in-store, at home and on-the-go has helped CVS bring new value to their 69 million active loyalty card holders.
More brands are looking to create an ongoing dialogue with their customer base with these sticky executions that have mobile users regularly considering new purchase opportunities. Daily deals platform Groupon is actively capitalizing on the trend of mobile shopping behaviors with a shift from its email-based marketing program to a mobile app-based model. More than 50 million people have already downloaded it.
Brands that haven’t developed in-store transactional apps or high-functioning WAP sites for smartphones and tablets still have ample opportunities to connect with mobile audiences. Networks and ad buying platforms like Millennial, Mojiva, Flurry and AdTheorent can target smartphone and tablet users who are actively interested in purchasing in any particular shopping category. To better direct messages to those most likely to engage, mobile networks are mining data and creating relevant audience pools of in-market users. They further enrich engagement through interactive campaign-based landing pages, rich media units, and targeted messages based on user location. Strategically executed mobile ad campaigns paired with engaging creative units can assist in driving in-store foot traffic, enabling users to find nearby store locations and call retail associates, and view in-store offers, amongst a multitude of other purchase-focused actions.
While we shouldn’t leave home without our wallets, consumers know that their shopping experiences online and in-store are best paired with their mobile device in tow. Conscientious brands are capitalizing on this trend and investing in mobile tech and advertising to get customers closer to the point of purchase.