Friday, July 23, 2010

mCommerce Closes Big Ticket In-store Sales

The quick research conducted on a mobile device while in-store is frequently the final push customers need to make the purchase. You'll often see big-ticket customers standing in store aisles, iPhone or BlackBerry in hand, researching product comparisons and reviews for the big-screen TV or appliance they are considering.... notes Carl Prindle of E-Commerce Times. Thus, "integrating mobile into a comprehensive cross-channel strategy ensures you are meeting your customers where -- and how -- they shop for your products today"

Continues Prindle:
These mobile in-store behaviors underscore the importance of complete synchronization between pricing, promotions and selection offered in-store and what your customers see via online and mobile research. Tailoring your mobile sites to a user's location and offering localized product or promotional information consistent with your traditional website is critical to enabling customers' mobile research.

Enabling the Socially Mobile
You'll also see consumers in stores take a photo, share a link or ask advice from friends in their social networks or on Twitter prior to their purchase. Product reviews -- part of the broader definition of "social networking" -- are a particularly important way to build customer confidence in a big-ticket purchase. Mobile consumers are looking not only for facts to support their purchase decision, but also endorsements from friends (or at least other consumers).

The impact of social media as part of a complete cross-channel approach cannot be ignored. Already impacting the traditional e-commerce space, the growing use of social applications through mobile devices highlights the importance for retailers to carve out a social media presence that ensures that their brands are visible and accessible, and that their websites are optimized for mobile viewing and sharing.

Next Steps for Retailers
While the mobile commerce evolution is still in its early stages, there are certainly steps that retailers can -- and should -- take advantage of now.

First, be sure that your "traditional" website fully supports your local stores. Then (and only then) decide on your objectives for your mobile strategy -- what consumer behaviors do you want to enable on mobile devices? With this strategy in hand, evaluate the pages on your site that support these behaviors. If needed, update them to be more mobile friendly -- or develop mobile-friendly alternatives.

When optimally and appropriately leveraged, mobile commerce technologies will help you capture the new multichannel consumers, whether they're at home or at work, or shopping near -- or in -- one of your stores.

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