Mobile commerce: the next phase

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Scott Richards, VP, emerging media and technology, Epsilon
Scott Richards, VP, emerging media and technology, Epsilon

Mobile is big. It's far-reaching, ever present and integrated into our everyday lives.

Marketers also realize the potential of mobile for engaging customers and driving revenue. They're developing new ways to incorporate mobile calls to action and content into their omni-channel marketing mix. However, when it comes to the link between mobile and e-commerce, many are missing out on leveraging the power of immediacy and relevancy that the mobile device can empower.

Think about the last time you went shopping. Perhaps you, or a fellow shopper, scanned a QR code to find additional information about a product and to read reviews. Maybe you pulled out your iPhone and did a quick price comparison before placing an item in your cart or you opted to purchase the product online at a cheaper price. Mobile played a role, but the experience from both retailer and product was very passive in leveraging the power of this second screen. If there were mobile calls to action, they were “click/scan/download for more information” — but if they leveraged the right technology, it could be: “Buy this now.”

Consider the Super Bowl this past February. A number of commercials incorporated the mobile application Shazam. The app recognizes Shazam-enabled commercials by sound and allows viewers to pull up content on their mobile devices. Again, most marketers featured passive content such as links to mobile-optimized sites or social campaigns. This was the perfect opportunity for brands to link real-time media directly to their e-commerce efforts by using Shazam to drive to a brand's mobile optimized e-commerce site, where users could then have purchased the items they were watching on their TV screen.

By leveraging real-time relevant media, optimizing mobile calls to action and simplifying the mobile commerce experience, marketers have the potential to drive significant program ROI. This aligns with findings from a recent Oracle survey of e-commerce professionals from leading retail, travel and consumer manufacturing organizations who identified one, the user experience; two, mobile programs; and three e-commerce platforms as the top three areas of investment for 2012.

Whether you're attempting to engage consumers in brick-and-mortar locations or while they're watching TV from the comfort of their homes, it's important to use mobile as a continuation of the primary brand interaction, rather than simply replicating it. It should be a seamless customer experience that enhances, but doesn't compete with, the primary interaction.

Scott Richards is VP of emerging media and technology at Epsilon.

Check out our special April 2012 mobile commerce issue for more on this topic.

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