Mobile Marketing With the Message Cloud

by Jessica Ramesh SmartFocus

Kym Reynolds, Head of Marketing Mobility at SmartFocus, discusses the increased influence of mobile technology on marketing in 2015

Customers are engaging with brands across an increasing number of touch points—websites, social media, in-store, mobile and tablets. At each base, customers expect a customised and personalised experience that is optimised specifically for them.

The new levels of flexibility and convenience that improve their experience are great for the customer, but the increased customer expectation continues to be a challenge for businesses that have to manipulate enormous amounts of data in order to understand how to effectively engage each individual.

The influence of mobile technology in retail cannot be understated. We are all becoming mobile connected consumers, with the majority of purchases in retail now happening on mobile. We are seeing mobile technology take a huge leap forward as consumer adoption increases. As well as this, retail businesses are embracing apps even more to connect with their valued customers, and using mobile to enable staff with tablets to engage with products and customers on the shop floor. We are seeing new mobile usage in-store for things like mobile payments, which can also be collected via tablets. The transition from ‘mobile first’ to ‘mobile only’ is beginning.

We are still on the curve, but further adoption by all demographics will increase the development of the industry. Retailers are still learning how to engage the connected consumer, but different strategies need to be introduced to create a wider reach. Millennials who understand ‘mobile only’ will help the industry develop even quicker.

We have seen new innovation in mobile retail, which has helped the connected consumer find, engage and execute the content they really want, at the time they want it, and in the current location. This means that the content is more personal to the user, ultimately improving purchase decisions. We see leading brands now delivering personalised discounts and vouchers to their user’s smartphones whilst they are in-store, and cinema chains are sending personal notifications to movie-goers once they have left the cinema. For example, “Rate the X-Men movie and we will enter you in a competition to win free cinema tickets.”

Above all, consumers want to receive the right content, seamlessly, across all the channels they choose to subscribe to. A piece of content should be posted once and be available to the consumer across all their chosen channels at the same time. People are short of time, especially when shopping, so messages should be personal and timely to encourage the consumer to purchase the product or service.

New technology and innovation comes and goes; the retail pioneers who embrace this are the test bed for what becomes mainstream—for example, beacons or augmented reality. Businesses should not be scared of technology innovations. If you do not try it then you can be at risk of falling behind. It is hard to win back a customer who has moved to another brand because the rival brand trialled a beacon in-store campaign.

I see many businesses that wait for others to trial new technology first before committing. But these days is it much easier, cheaper and quicker to get a trial of a mobile innovation rolled out to customers. You only need to test a small audience to evaluate what a bigger strategy would look like.

Technology and social media are changing things rapidly in the retail environment. Businesses can see this as a huge challenge to overcome or they can see it as an opportunity that they can embrace. By doing the latter and catering to the needs of their customers, companies can increase their relevancy and their messages will resonate with the people they are trying to reach.