My Comments on the below article:
M-commerce is a natural progression for retailers to extend their existing e-commerce operations. I also have the viewpoint that m-commerce will leapfrog e-commerce in less established markets. After all mobile internet has done this in countries like India, China, Korea (to name a few) so why not m-commerce? Retailers have been traditionally slow in taking up mobile as a marketing/sales channel. It was no different in the early fixed internet days. However, with players like Google and Apple moving into the market, I do believe Retailers are being forced to wake up and realise the true potential of this device. Whilst they are behind other sectors in mobile adoption, it is not too late for them to get involved.
Unfortunately, we have already seen retailers start to embrace mobile with the wrong strategy and are making the mistakes that others are savvy too. We are seeing retailers jump on the app bandwagon without considering the mobile internet first, this is a classic mistake to make.
Mobile Internet is at the heart of Mobile Marketing campaigns. The key to this is to remember mobile works best when integrated into traditional media whatever the format. Mobile applications are just one element to utilise as a marketing channel. At present only iphone applications are offering the rich levels brands would expect and the experience consumers would hope for. The others are some way behind. There is limited reach, as in the UK iphone has only **17% handset penetration (much less Globally) with Blackberry slightly higher on **20% and Nokia still dominating with a huge **39% (**Smart phone penetration).
In order to maximise the success of any campaign you need to reach the targeted masses; which means you need to consider all platforms and formats whether it is an application, mobile internet site or simple SMS communications or mobile vouchers (to name but a few). This always comes back to the key metrics in determining the success of any campaign:
Reach, Targeting, Engagement, Viral-ability and Transactional…..
Does it have reach? Is it targeted? Is it engaging? Is it viral? Can you make a sale?
The higher it scores in these areas then the closer you are to running a successful mobile marketing campaign that has delivered recognised measured tangible results.
The iPhone apps and other apps can be an added benefit to a customer base and must be considered. Starting with the mobile internet will enable reach of a much wider audience and they can run trageted ad campaigns on mobile internet sites which will produce much better ROI than simply trying to drive traffic to download their iPhone app (which is not measurable and excluding to the masses if integrated into traditional media). Only recently I published a press release on my blog from the IAB who conducted research with Nationwide showing that using mobile and online advertising in combination can significantly increase brand awareness and purchase consideration:
I have been working in mobile with some of the worlds leading brands since early 2003 across many sectors. Mobile is a powerful communications channel whether it is engendering loyalty, acquiring customers or retaining customers. It delivers in all these areas across all mobile formats.
Posted By, 26 February 2010 10:30am, Graham Charlton @ Econsultancy
One trend I’ve noticed lately is that the few UK retailers that have launched mobile commerce services have opted to do this via mobile apps rather than a mobile website. Both Next and Net-A-Porter have the app, but not the mobile site.
Is there an argument for producing an app rather than a mobile site? Or should retailers be looking to reach as many customers as possible with a mobile site? Or should they have both?
I’ve listed some of the arguments for and against…
Why have a mobile commerce app?
Since smartphones, and the iPhone in particular, currently dominate the mobile internet, there is an argument that an app is more likely to appeal to them.
Smartphone users are more affluent. Therefore, apps will appeal to an audience with more disposable income.
Better functionality. Smartphone features like GPS and the compass on the 3GS means that retailers can offer a richer experience, with location based services, augmented reality, or the photo function on the Amazon iPhone app.
Greater visibility. The popularity of App Store as a model for distributing apps means that retailers can get some good exposure for their apps. For example, the recently releasedNext iPhone app currently sits at number two in the Top 25 free apps list, which should guarantee plenty of downloads.
Your customers have smartphones. If you have a significant proportion of mobile visitors using Android phones and iPhones, then an app may be the best way to appeal to them.
Why have an m-commerce website?
Greater reach. An app restricts the number of customers you can appeal to.
Appeal to mobile searchers. Apps need to be downloaded in advance. If customers don’t have your app, they can’t buy from you, but if you have a mobile-optimised site, they can search and find it on their browsers.
No third party approval required. If you want an app, you’ll need to wait for approval before release and before you make adjustments. Having a mobile site means you are unrestrained in your site design and can push out updates and changes whenever you want.
No need to design multiple apps. Eventually other phones will eat into iPhone market share more and more, meaning that you may have to develop apps for several handsets. You can avoid this with a mobile site.
The browser-based mobile market is the future. According to recent Taptu research, the browser-based mobile web market will grow much faster than the app market, so a mobile site will be necessary long term.
For a retailer looking for the largest possible audience for its products and services, the best starting point may be a website optimised for all mobiles, as this allows you to reach the widest possible audience. You allow people to stumble upon your site via a mobile search engine.
If a healthy percentage of visitors to your mobile site are using iPhones, Android Handsets or others, then there is a case for developing a dedicated mobile app to improve the experience for these customers.
Or, to cover all bases, why not have a mobile site AND app? This is what eBay, Amazon, Best Buy and others all do, and it seems to be working for them.