Managing M-Commerce Disruption

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Ben Pressley, Magento
Ben Pressley, Magento

What's the real marketing opportunity SoLoMo presents?

Two years ago retailers were fearful of the pace of innovation in technology and consumer behavior that was disrupting their markets at an unparalleled rate. Industry leaders pointed to a “death” of traditional retail, which was greatly exaggerated—traditional brick-and-mortar retailing did not disappear, but instead evolved into a hybrid, multichannel approach as the lines between on- and offline commerce blurred. As consumers adopted new mobile technologies, they drove demand for new shopping experiences and created opportunities for retailers to engage with shoppers anytime, anywhere, from any device. To survive the impacts of SoLoMo commerce, retailers must innovate in the face of these evolving consumer-behavior trends.

Social commerce: driving data insights

Although social platforms continue to experiment with ecommerce integration, the real opportunity for marketers is through data analysis. In addition to fostering deeper consumer engagement, social platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter provide robust analytics tools that offer insights into customer service preferences, brand loyalty, life milestones, aspirational role models, and personal style. Retailers must begin sourcing these vast amounts of data across all points of social engagement to truly have a holistic view of the evolving mind-set of their customers.

Marketers should think of social engagement as a critical part of the consumer's commerce journey, and create a closed data loop to fuel personalized experiences for individual shoppers wherever possible. Using segmentation allows marketers to surprise and delight consumers with insights from social engagement with private sales, geo-targeted incentives, and a robust product-referral engine to augment existing marketing efforts.

Scaling global operations with localized experiences

There are currently more than two billion Internet users driving new opportunities for distribution and brand localization globally. Asia and Europe have now eclipsed North America in Internet usage, and that growth is expected to double in the next two years as decreasing costs of mobile technologies prompt adoption for new classes of consumers. Many consumers in emerging markets like Brazil, China, India, and Russia will connect to the Internet for the first time via inexpensive smartphones and will expect to engage with retailers anytime, anywhere.

To propel the local-centric approach, marketers need to rethink the brick-and-mortar retail dynamic as a means to market entry in new geographies and to consider leading with localized e-commerce. Additionally, as mobile technologies continue to differentiate across price point and geography, online storefronts must implement dynamic strategies like responsive design to ensure that their storefront can adapt to any viewing screen, rather than be at the mercy of consumer preferences for Android or iOS devices.

Mobile devices driving omnichannel experiences

In addition to the growing adoption of mobile commerce as a consumer behavior, retailers must grapple with the impact of anytime, anywhere connectivity on brick-and-mortar storefronts. From a brand-experience perspective, mobile commerce represents an opportunity to drive deeper customer engagement while shoppers are in-store, using GPS and private Wi-Fi to push specialized incentives for consumers. But Internet access while in-store also intensifies competition for retailers to offer the lowest price and the most convenience, as showrooming continues to drive purchasing.

As these trends continue to disrupt the when, where, and how consumers purchase goods and services, marketers should consider avoiding investment in commerce applications for iOS and Android devices. Consumer behavior continues to outpace the timing and costs necessary to maintain application experiences as inventory cycles continue to shorten. Additionally, marketers should keep a critical eye on Web analytics to see what's preventing or encouraging consumers to purchase from mobile devices, and then optimize their content and marketing strategies for the coming year.

Preparing for future SoLoMo disruption

The megatrends of social, local, and mobile commerce have disrupted retail and e-commerce at an unparalleled rate. With decreasing costs of mobile adoption, new consumers will change the face of online shopping through global demand. As consumer demand grows, new purchasing behaviors will emerge that will require swift implementation of new strategies from marketers to capture revenues. As the future of this market is continuing to evolve and mature, retailers must orient their businesses for change by mapping out the journey they would like consumers to take with their brand across all points of engagement to ensure an experience-centric mindset as new technologies and trends emerge.

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Ben Pressley, Magento

Ben Pressley, head of worldwide sales at Magento, leads the e-commerce Web-application company's market strategy in scaling out new customer acquisition and adoption. He's also responsible for driving customer success and satisfaction globally. Pressley brings over a decade of experience leading and managing strategy, business development, channels, and sales organizations with established enterprise software companies and start-ups. Pressley—who's a fan of triathlons, travel, reading, and football—holds a masters degree in information systems from the University of Utah and an MBA from Columbia University.

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