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How brands should best approach mobile retail

How brands should best approach mobile retail

By Keith Brown, managing director, paythru.

As mobile commerce moves from a ‘nice to have’ to a ‘must have’ for the majority of retailers, thinking about how consumers interact with their mobile phone will be key to making the channel deliver the very best returns.

The early adopters of shopping by mobile – Generation M - can be defined by their attitude towards communication rather than their age, social demographic or location. These consumers are permanently connected, and have an expectation that they can find the information and the retail gratification they want – instantly.

Their mobile phone is not just a convenient way of communicating, it is very much part of their personality and lifestyle.  It plays a central role in almost every aspect of their life.   Services such as Google local search and Google Goggles are tapping into this expectation and retailers can benefit as well with a little planning and the right content.

Firstly, retailers need to have a seamless online and mobile presence.  Generation M expect to have the same experience whether shopping on their PC or mobile phone, and those retailers that fail to deliver this are unlikely to get a second chance to win a new customer.

This means that not only must mobile site design be consistent with the retailers’ website but also easy to navigate and buy from.  Providing the same purchase experience on both platforms is crucial, offering customers the ability to  pay by credit and debit cards  without pre-registration to spend as much as they wish and the card issuer will allow.

Oh, and of course they expect at least the same level of security that they get on the web.

Topicality of offer is also crucial to motivating Generation M to part with their hard earned cash.  Living very much in the moment, these consumers respond to product and service offers that reflect recent events, weather, films or music.

So hot weeks provide ideal opportunities for barbeque and picnic offers for supermarkets, and sporting events supply a great platform for drinks, snacks and replica kit.  The speed of these offers also means that retailers need to plan for both home deliver and store pick-up. It’s about relevance without being obtrusive.

With Generation M’s passion for communication through their mobile phone retailers need to plan to tap into the two big mobile trends - social networks and mobile apps.  

The world’s dominant social network Facebook – 400 million users spending 500 billion minutes a month on the site – provides a very usable mobile channel for retailers wanting to drive sales.

Many smart phones are now shipped with Facebook apps pre-loaded, and use of the site on the move is increasing dramatically.  100 million consumers are accessing Facebook through their mobile currently and the good news is that according to Facebook they are twice as active as non-mobile users.

Cross promoting offers on websites, Facebook and mobile sites can drive interest in, and increased membership of, the Facebook community as well as sales through the mobile channel.

Those retailers that have developed a mobile app must ensure that it offers true mobile commerce functionality.  Consumers need to be able to buy goods without leaving the app.  Impulse purchases require the ability to buy as the urge demands, not to leave the app, enter card details and then buy.

Our experience is that two or three clicks on a mobile phone are about the limit for Generation M from selection to purchase.
In summary, those retailers that want to become a regular feature of Generation M’s phone screens need to think impulse, instant gratification and frictionless purchase.  

With Gartner predicting that more than 190 million consumers will be using their mobile phone to make payments within the next 24 months Generation M is a group of consumers worth getting to know well.

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