What’s Next in Mobile Marketing for Retailers: Notes from Mobile Shopping Spring

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Last week, Mogreet joined large and small retailers from around the country to discuss the latest innovations and trends in mobile marketing and retail at Mobile Shopping Spring.

There were 3 core discussion themes that captured the attention of this year’s attendees:

  • Mobile message marketing: SMS vs. MMS
  • Apps vs. the Mobile web
  • Understanding QR codes

1: SMS vs. MMS?
SMS remains the one tool that virtually every retail attendee is considering and/or using. And why not? While basic in nature, SMS messaging remains an extremely effective tool to introduce consumers to mobile message marketing.

But is SMS providing a good enough customer experience to drive product purchase or drive immediate response? Is it as effective as a multimedia message when you want to move someone from awareness to action?

The truth is, SMS programs work well for companies on a budget looking to launch a mobile messaging marketing program. But it is key to remember that with a SMS program, you are engaging customers using nothing more than abbreviated text. And doesn’t your brand deserve more than abbreviated text.

For a live demo, text MMS to 21534. Msg & data rates may apply.

How does MMS work?
MMS message marketing provides retailers a rich set of tools to provided the best mobile marketing experience possible. MMS marketing engages customers by introducing the brand through high quality videos, compelling images, audio and/or thousands of characters of text. It is a completely branded experience, which has been proven to drive higher engagement and stronger sales, than abbreviated text alone.

What MMS content drives highest engagement?
So what multimedia content drives the highest customer engagement? While photos can showcase a brand or product, video is the true star of MMS marketing programs. Retailers create videos on a regular basis to engage customers across social/online marketing channels. Why not repurpose that video and use it to engage fans on a platform that drives immediate action – MMS.

2: App vs. Mobile Site?
Retailers are starting to see a large amount of site traffic coming in from mobile phones and tablets. So the question is, do you build a mobile website or build an app for those mobile devices?

Mobile First
Given the enormous mobile web usage rates, globally, creating a mobile website must be #1 on the list of to dos for today’s retailers.

Traditional retail websites are content heavy – utilizing imagery, text and share buttons to drive traffic and sales, perfect for the desktop purchase. However, the behaviors of the mobile user are completely different than those of a desktop visitor. Mobile users want faster load times and easy purchase options to engage and finalize a sale before their attentions move on.

Creating a mobile website is the first step to creating a mobile program and the first step to take to increase mobile purchase conversions.

The Benefits Of a Mobile Landing Page
BeyondTheRack.com recognized their mobile conversion rate was only 30% of what they see on their desktop traffic. To drive higher conversion rates, they are now building a mobile site.

In addition to higher onsite conversion rates, BeyondTheRack realized that once their site is mobile optimized, they could utilize mobile advertising, particularly from social gaming, to drive even more acquisition. At the end of the day, a mobile landing page provides a wide range of revenue opportunities for any retail brand.

mobile device tablet phone appsWhy Apps
For retailers who are not yet ready to launch a completely mobile site or those who find that a majority of their site visitors coming in from a particular OS platform, apps are another way to provide a fully branded mobile site experience.

Apps can be used for a wide range of tools – from gaming to purchase platforms, if there is a need, an app can be built to meet that need.

Apps continue to be particularly useful in the travel and flash sale industries – industries in which a customer may be prompted to engage with the app as their need arises.

Of course, like any good mobile marketing program, it is key to utilize a customer survey to determine if an app is a fit for your brand before beginning the app build process.

Risks to using an App
Apps themselves are inherently limited. In general, they can only run on the smartphone and operating system they were built to support. Right now, only 50% of Americans have a smartphone and only 50% of that audience is Android vs. iPhone, apps limit your marketing to, at most, 25% of mobile phone users.

Apps need to be opened and referenced on a regular basis. Before launching an app, retailers must consider the use and goal for the app as well as determine a long term content strategy to understand what will keep customers engaged on an ongoing basis.

What companies are using Apps successfully?

Hautelook (Nordstrom) recognized that a large percentage of their traffic was coming in from smartphones. They utilize their app to increase conversion and productivity for their existing mobile users. It is key to note that:
• HauteLook already has a highly optimized mobile retail website
• Hautelook only markets their app to new site registrants

Gamefly, noted that with an app and mobile site, they now get more traffic coming in from mobile platforms that desktop visitors.

Is There a Place in Retail for the Lowly QR Code?
QR codes continue to be center stage in the retail space, despite low customer adoption. So why are retailers all flocking to this type of mobile marketing?

QR codes present an opportunity to provide the customer with a discount or compelling content with a single scan. When available in stores, users can scan the code to receive an immediate discount. In an advertisement, QR codes give retailers the chance to support the promoted product or overall brand by providing the consumer compelling content.

So what is wrong with that?

The downside of QR codes
First, since QR code readers are smartphone apps, they have an automatically limited audience as discussed previously.

Most QR codes are typically used only once by the consumer. They are not rarely utilized as part of an ongoing engagement, a retargeting program.

Lastly, up until now, most consumers have not had a great QR code experience. Either the code was hard to scan, data and web connectivity were limited or the content received was not compelling enough to take action. Many retailers launched QR codes to drive traffic back to a website, turning customers off to the entire process, especially if the website is not mobile web optimized.

SMS? MMS? Apps? QR codes?
At the end of the day, what technologies should retailers be investing in to drive the most customers in, through, and back into the marketing funnel? There’s 3 ways to kick start your mobile marketing program:

1. Build your mobile website! This is the most basic way to capture the attention of your mobile visitors
2. If you really want to drive people in, and back again, skip over the platform-limiting services such as apps and QR codes and go straight to a MMS messaging program. Quick and easy to implement, MMS is the easiest tool available today to engage consumers, drive in-bound traffic, sales and social sharing.
3. Once the mobile website and MMS campaigns are set up, remember to promote, promote, promote! You’re already marketing your products in different media and on your social channels – mention your mobile efforts so you can build your database and to make sure your customers know they can quickly get more information about your products and on-the-go using their mobile devices.

Have questions about MMS or how you can harness the power of mobile messaging to surpass your marketing goals? Give us a call at 310-566-0713 or find a retail case study on Mogreet’s website


  • Zane.

    SMS? Only for opt-in push messages. Very limited.

    MMS? More expensive but less valuable than SMS.

    QR? A sure way to be passed over.

    Apps? Unless you work with an HTML.5 base, they are often an unnecessary expense.

    Web? Mobile web is in a steep incline in use. It’s ubiquitous. But, it’s introduced a whole new UI/UX and expectation. Forget “mobilizing” your static site. Think different for mobile UX.

    What really matters?

    Personalization.

    Clean, simple, quick loading and near zero-navigation or small print.

    Rather than over-design, allow the User to pull data they need via a web app backend.

    Don’t forget that 30-60% of “location” is the User’s couch, while watching television. Context is fluid. Again, consider a web services back end so that the User “shapes” the experience themselves (not nearly enough people are doing this).

    Reply

  • media2go

    Good post .. I would be interested in hearing how your MMS services can leverage a proximity advertising platform that is delivering connections via WiFi or Bluetooth at the point of purchase through managed campaigns.

    Reply

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