By Adrian Segens, business development manager, Pierhouse.
Mobile marketing is being adopted by leading-edge retailers to enhance a customer’s instore (or online) experience and turn browsers into spenders.
The main driver is the ability to communicate richer product information, including offers, to help consumers make their purchasing decision.
However, to get the most out of new media such as mobile marketing, retail marketers need to make sure that it is an integral part of their campaigns, acting as a bridge between their instore and online promotional activity, and not considered in isolation, which is too often the case.
A common misconception, too, is that mobile marketing has to be something that involves smart phone applications. MMS messages, iPhone applications and even QR codes on products which when photographed by a camera on a mobile handset deliver information and offers (currently being trialled by Marks & Spencer) do have their place; however, the essence of good mobile marketing is to keep it simple.
The largest and most successful mobile marketing application in the UK is the Shop-Scan-Save club with around 30,000 members. Offers are sent by SMS to members who can redeem them at any of the 22,000 retailers that participate in the PayPoint scheme.
When Shop-Scan-Save asked its membership if they could confirm they were 18 years of age so that they could be sent offers on beer, within six hours, 27% had responded “yes”.
One Valentine’s Day, Shop-Scan-Save organised a “Loved up or Lonely” campaign. Customers who sent a text saying they were “Loved up” received a single rose and a tub of ice cream; those that texted “Lonely” got a frozen pizza for one. One customer “dumped by boyfriend” received offers on wine, bubble bath and chocolate and immediately responded with “thank you, you made me sooo happy”.
Another effective use of SMS is to create instore media with a “text for details” call to action. Customers text the code of the product they are interested in and receive an SMS message with a WAP link which they follow to see full details of the product (price, detailed specification etc) on their phone This message can also include phone numbers that can be immediately dialled to connect to a retailer’s call centre or links to the company’s online ordering service.
Being consumer-driven, these type of marketing campaigns provides retailers with immediate feedback on the levels of interest generated by particular products and offers, which help define future campaigns.
An additional benefit is that retailers get the mobile numbers of customers who opt in to receive future information and offers by phone so they can build loyalty and broaden their customer community.
Sellers of electrical goods are using the “text for more details” method to help customers distinguish between the myriad of products on sale and wine sellers are also seeing it as a real advantage.
Fashion retailers, on the other hand, are following their counterparts in the US by exploring mobile to deliver vouchers and coupons, attracted by the higher - and faster - redemption rate than for printed coupons, usually less than 48 hours.
As retailers build up their list of customer mobile telephone numbers, they can also send messages about special offers to help shift slow-moving lines, particularly perishables with a finite shelf life.
But whether a retail marketing campaign involves mobile, print, digital or electronic communication, the most important element to ensure is that it is accurate and compliant.
While this may be obvious, there are numerous examples of campaigns with different prices and descriptions published across various media, where the timing of a print advertisement has not linked with the instore branding and even where an incorrect picture or company logo has been used. The technology is available to make sure that this does not happen.
As mobile marketing, by its very nature, is being used to convey messages fast, to achieve a fast response, the end result is to retain, not to lose, customers by an avoidable mistake.
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