By Stephen Mellish, product consultant, 2ergo
Recent news that sales of mobile device overtaking personal computers has come as a surprise to analysts and experts alike.
Manufacturers sold a total of 101million smartphones in the last three months of 2010, up 87 % from the same period a year earlier, while PC shipments reached 92million units in the fourth quarter, up less than 3%.
While it was predicted that the tipping point would be reached at some point either this year or next, the moment came much earlier – surprising even the most optimistic of mobile evangelists.
However, this means that retailers and media organisations need to move faster than ever to take advantage of mobile web adoption. Research, carried out by 2ergo, shows that 93% of the UK’s leading retailers missed out last Christmas by failing to respond to the increased interest in shopping via mobile devices, few are expected to make the same mistake this year.
No longer niche
Mobile marketing is no longer the niche discipline with potential – it has gone mainstream. Likewise, it is not a specialism that sits in isolation from the day-to-day trading in retailing.
When integrated into a business effectively, mobile can help organisations target and acquire new customers, grow loyalty, increase sales, improve customer service and create promotions.
Many retailers might have an app but few are doing much more to take advantage of the wider mobile proposition, which is a missed opportunity in this age of multi-channel marketing.
We’ve previously made ambitious predictions that consumers will embrace mobile commerce this year, but only time will tell which retailers will react and be in place to take advantage of the opportunity.
Apps are not the only way
The iPhone is only accounts for 14.4% of the global market, so by limiting yourself to just one handset, a brand will miss out on customers using Android, Blackberry or Nokia devices.
Customers have to opt in and download an app from one of the many available app stores, while a mobile website can secure visitors via a URL and are ‘findable’ via Google search.
While apps are a useful tool in mobile marketing, and there is a time and a place for their use, too often businesses think creating and pushing out an app constitutes an entire mobile strategy. This is a major mistake. Mobile websites can often more successful strategy as they remain part of the wider internet and, as such, benefit from search and referral links.
Mobile can integrate deeply into a business. Mobile commerce is the obvious win here but mobile can combine well with retail systems in other ways, including using couponing and vouchers to drive sales in-store and online.
Mobile can also be used as part of a customer relationship management strategy. Lapsed customers in-store can now be targeted while shopping via their mobile with coupons, giving them more reasons to spend.
Mobile websites have been around for some time, yet it is surprising to see exactly how few brands have created fully optimised mobile sites that cater to the sharp growth in smartphones. However, as brands and retailers begin to catch up with the pace of change, mobile sites will have the same functionality as apps – many ever more, perhaps – but with the added advantage of being able to work on any operating system and being search engine optimised.
If you want to learn more about mobile marketing, why not attend one of our open courses run in partnership with the IAB? Visit here to find out more.
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