Embracing m-commerce

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Carol Krol, editor in chief, Direct Marketing News
Carol Krol, editor in chief, Direct Marketing News

The amount of mobile channels for customers to interact with multichannel retailers has positively exploded in the past year. As the platforms multiply, marketers are forced into an always-on approach to commerce. This can be an asset for the retailers who can capitalize on this reality in order to increase transactions and provide topnotch service to customers. It can also present challenges for those who aren't quite ready for the steady stream of customers through countless browsers and mobile devices. And that customer — who expects a fast, easy seamless shopping experience — isn't the patient sort. Mess it up and they'll simply move on to your competitor. That means a well-considered, thoughtful mobile e-commerce approach is essential for merchants.

In this month's themed issue, we look at optimal m-commerce strategies. We've  unearthed insights marketers can harness to get ahead of the digital commerce curve. Brand leaders and experts offer views on what is necessary to provide a better road map through an array of digital commerce options.

That includes our brand feature on Macy's, which refashioned its marketing along with its renovation of its flagship store. CMO Martine Reardon said among the innovations are interactive directories, digital product information, live video of events and a mobile app. Macy's has also blazed a trail with customer data to drive local targeting and custom events.

Data, as always, is at the core of creating rich customer experiences. Our database feature looks at retailers' ability to use quantitative and qualitative consumer data, particularly online, to position their brands and personalize customer communications.

Mark Miller, SVP and CRM practice lead at Digitas sums up the about-face in how marketers view database strategy. “Marketers must use their database to figure out how to position their brand in a way that provides value to the consumers, instead of the other way around,” he told Direct Marketing News.

This month, we've also looked in-depth at mobile's surge overall and how brands in our e-commerce feature have responded. Staples is one brand that has embraced mobile commerce and understands the value of a differentiated approach. The supplies giant recently created a tablet-optimized site, mobile apps and a new optimized mobile site with features including GPS-powered store locators and enhanced on-site search, including product recommendation features.

Battle of the Brands highlights a face-off between multibillion dollar casino and hotel giants MGM Resorts and Caesars Entertainment. We find both lacking in direct marketing and commerce strategy. While both achieve integration and have solid loyalty programs in place, they fall short on website design and social media engagement.

We also feature a Gloves Off point-counterpoint regarding whether mobile devices will surpass PCs in e-commerce sales. In addition to our expert columnists, we polled our audience, whose comments are featured in Reader Response.

Rounding out coverage is this month's Heat Meter. We've cast a critical eye on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Netflix and Nike commerce sites to determine which brands' pages are best built to drive sales.

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