Are you ready for the mobile consumer?


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Two thousand eleven promises to be the year of the mobile consumer.

Currently, 70% of new phones sold are of the web-enabled variety. Neilson estimates that by the end of this year, more Americans will have smart phones than will have feature phones. And Gartner research suggests that by 2013, mobile phones will overtake PCs as the preferred way to access the web.

Okay, so there are a lot of iPhone or Android toting folks out there. But what does this mean for marketers?

A new study from ForeSee Results sheds light on this. It revealed that 33% of all survey respondents had accessed a retailer’s website using a mobile phone (a 38% increase over 2009), and an additional 26% said that they plan to use their mobile phone to visit a company’s website or mobile application in the future. In other words, nearly 60% of all shoppers are either already using or plan to use their phones for retail purposes.

How exactly are they using them? Eleven percent reported having made a purchase from their phone this holiday season (compared to just 2% last year). Shoppers also used phones to compare price information (56%) and to compare products or research product specifications (46%). Perhaps most interestingly, a full 69% of mobile shoppers used their phones to visit the store’s own website while IN THE STORE, and 46% also used their phones to access a competitor’s website.

So it appears mobile shoppers are using their web-enabled devices as much to supplement their offline shopping experiences as they are to purchase online. And with new mobile functionality, such as Google’s new “click-to-call” mobile search capability, mobile promises to be an even bigger opportunity for marketers.

You can download a PDF of the ForeSee study here.

All this begs the question, what can marketers do today to take better advantage of the emerging trend of the mobile shopper? Obviously you need to make your website mobile friendly. Say “no” to Flash. (Not supported by Apple’s OS, requires a lot of bandwidth, and really eats up your phone’s battery.) Streamline the number of pages, and minimize the number of clicks necessary to find product information and comparison shop. Design with an eye towards the 4″ screen of a smart phone.

If you find your web site is “mobile challenged,” consider building a special site just for mobile users. A quick option that’s been getting rave reviews is moBistro, a site that lets you custom create your own turnkey mobile website that is compatible on 98% of smart phones.

Mobile applications (“Apps”) are a popular way to engage the mobile consumer. However, there is a glut of apps already on the market, and the development time, expense and limitations of an app could prove to be detrimental. One alternative to building an “app” is to embed a mobile icon on your Index Page that serves as a “bookmark” for mobile users. This is fast, cheap and will save you the expenses and headaches of developing/marketing/supporting an app.

But perhaps the best way to support the mobile shopper is by being active in Social Media. The confluence of Social Media platforms and the functionality and versatility they offer smart phone users are nothing short of amazing. Social networks are THE destination sites for the mobile consumer. As an example, Facebook’s mobile app is one of the most accessed apps out there, and by building a strong Facebook presence, you’ll be immediately available to your customers, no matter where they are.

Without a doubt, the mobile shopper is coming. With a little planning, you’ll be ready.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Mickey Lonchar
Mickey Lonchar has spent the better part of two decades creating award-winning advertising with agencies up and down the West Coast, Mickey currently holds the position of creative director with Quisenberry Marketing & Design, a full-service advertising and interactive shop with offices in Spokane and Seattle, Wash.


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