Getting Personal, and Other Tricks
Over the last year, I’ve had the opportunity to help marketing executives define their mobile and eCommerce strategies, and I’ve had the unique opportunity to pin down a number of proven trends that are essential considerations when developing a successful campaign.
In our increasingly wireless world, most marketing professionals understand that it’s essential to have a presence both online and in the mobile world. However, what many fail to recognize is that simply having a mobile app or an eCommerce site is not enough.
Understanding how your customer’s behaviour is changing, and for what purpose your customer is using your mobile and eCommerce platforms will make all the difference in conversion rates and customer experience. Here are some trends to be aware of as you think through your eCommerce strategy.
Commerce is not just on the web anymore
Rather, it’s becoming increasingly mobile, socially-enabled and personalized to meet customer needs at any given moment. Right now, many consumers take the first step into mobile commerce by using eCommerce on a mobile phone. But that trend is quickly giving way for the evolution of new, more convenient payment methods. Retailers like Starbucks are already allowing their customers to pay via their mobile phones in store, blurring the cross-channel commerce lines even further. Retailers are finding ways to personalize payment methods, and it’s going to revolutionize commerce moving forward.
Personalization makes a difference to conversion rates
Understanding consumer behaviour on your website is the best way to take on traditional conversion challenges like shopping cart abandonment. Knowing where your customer physically is when they are on your mobile site can make all the difference, not only to conversion, but also, to the customer experience. If you know they’re in your store, for example, you may offer coupons or guide them to items they may like, based on shopping habits or previous purchases.
The customer experience is a competitive differentiator
Customers want a seamless experience across channels. Having the ability to make purchases using a mobile device in a bricks and mortar store the same way they can using their mobile device to check out while using their personal computers enhances the experience. As mobile commerce becomes more advanced, allowing the customer experience to flow seamlessly across channels will be increasingly important for retailers. Bridging physical and online worlds will be essential for those aiming to maintain and grow their customer bases.
Ease-of-use is important
Many companies still rely on developers, who are oftentimes actively involved in making small content or capability changes to mobile or eCommerce applications during an online marketing campaign, but the trend is moving toward more involvement from the business user, e.g. the marketing executive or online retail manager, and less from pricey development teams - in fact this is the promise of Software as a Service (SaaS). The constant need for personalization and social interaction makes having an easy and streamlined way for marketers to make necessary edits online crucial.
Going global is essential to drive growth
In our increasingly globally-connected world, businesses can extend their reach to customers in an efficient way by facilitating online transactions from around the world. A good example of reaching the right customer at the right time comes out of Australia, where retailers from the Northern Hemisphere are selling their off-season goods to in-season customers in the Southern Hemisphere via eCommerce. By making a small investment to sell online, retailers are able to extend their global reach and customer base.
Bob Egner is VP of marketing and product management at EPiServer