Mobile! Mobile! Mobile! It’s all the rage these days. eMarketer predicts that smartphone usage in the US is catching up with that in the UK, and is only expected to grow more in 2014. Smartphones have completely revolutionized the way that we communicate, organize our lives, and even do commerce. More and more people are using their phones not only to discover products, but also to buy them. Increased smartphone adoption has the dual advantage of letting consumers shop online, and also gives businesses the chance to target them with relevant product offers when they are in the vicinity of a physical store.
Embracing a robust mobile strategy indicates that a business is also embracing an omni-channel approach to commerce. Or what we call the infinite channel approach. In the age of pervasive commerce, there are infinite ways in which to reach a consumer. Commerce is no longer destination-based, and it is not enough to have just a physical and online presence. Consumers connect with brands and retailers through social channels, mobile devices, tablets, wearables, and so on.
How are you integrating mobile into your strategy? Consumers are increasingly using smartphones to communicate with brands. So it is not only a channel on which to push for sales, but it is also a channel through which a brand can establish a relationship with a consumer. And that is of utmost importance in this age of commerce.
A strong infinite channel strategy means that there would be consistent product information across the various channels where a business has their presence. That is the key to success. Brands and retailers need to have deep and accurate information about their products’ pricing, assortment, availability, and promotions across channels. If a product is selling for different prices in-store and online, or there is a discrepancy in the availability information, that’s where the disconnect comes in and you may lose the customer.
Consumers will naturally compare pricing and other factors online while they are in a store. This is where technologies like iBeacons and geo-fencing come into play. If consistent product information is married to consumer behavior and shopping history data, businesses can provide the right customer, with the right product offer, at the right time, and the right place. This will also help combat phenomena like webrooming and showrooming.
Businesses need to think about mobile not just in terms of another channel, but rather think of it as being part of the fabric of a larger seamless customer experience. These are exciting times for commerce that call for a grand and beautiful vision of the future. Mobile is going to play a big part in shaping this reality. So, get mobile now!