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[RECAP] Leveraging Social and Mobile commerce For Better User Experience - Webinar

17th May, 2012. 1PM-2PM EST

This webinar was organized by Direct Marketing News and the speakers included Peter Sheldon, Senior Analyst at Forrester and Brenna Johnson, Product Manager at Oracle.

Some of the interesting figures that emerged from this webinar included the research by Forrester that showed an expected increase in the number of mobile devices (all US figures have been used in this article). While smartphones were expected to increase from 100 million current devices to 120 million by 2015, another ~30 million tablets will be added to the current 50 million. Ereaders would grow from 20 to 30 million.

Marketers will continue to face challenges in optimizing the overall experience for these devices. As interactive TV, In-Store kiosks etc become another a POS, retailers will need to find smarter ways of making the overall experience pleasant.

The current figures reveal that m-commerce is only a fraction of e-commerce. In 2011, m-commerce accounted for $6bn in revenues, or just 2% of total e-commerce activity. By 2016, this figure is expected to increase to $31bn, or 7% of e-commerce. This suggests that even with devices around, consumers are using mobile and social channels to research and help themselves with the purchase decision, rather than to complete a payment.

The exception to the above statistic are figures for group buying/daily deal companies. With high awareness and a comfort level with the apps, such businesses are seeing between 20-40% of their purchases being completed on mobile devices.

Forrester's research also showed that social networks are primarily being used for communication purpose (58%) rather than researching products (7%) or buying goods/services (3%). While .com's are still getting the sale, the opportunity lies in showcasing the information to the potential buyer on social / mobile channels in the best possible manner. In terms of ROI, marketers still count e-mail as having the highest contribution, followed by Search, Affiliate and then social, which is currently being used for the purpose of brand building.

While f-commerce has taken some beating with many Facebook stores being shut down (Gamestop, JC Penny and so on), retailers can instead use the Facebook data on their current (and rather robust) e-commerce structures to display merchandise based on the user's location, interests and what their friends might have purchased.

In terms of building apps, retailers should not aim for a stripped down version of the website. The most common feature can be the 'store locator' and incorporating only this would be the easy route but vastly underestimating the mobile experience.

Marketers need to identify the role that the app will play and how will success be defined. Is the target - Sales (through the app), guide traffic to the website, promote loyalty or drive footfalls to the brick and mortar store? Each retailer will have a different audience and so, the tactics will need to be different as well.

One of the reasons why tablet devices perform better in m-commerce is due to the larger screen size. Retailers that have a high degree of conversion for return users might be better off, but the checkout process on a smartphone can be challenging.

The webinar delivered a lot of insight into how and why - social / mobile's contribution will change and affect the overall purchase. Very interesting.

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