Getting Senior Management to Buy Into Mobile
Dear Dr. pROfIt: My company recently launched an e-commerce app, and it's generating about 2 percent of total e-commerce sales. But management wants to kill the channel and focus resources on our e-commerce business. I disagree with this strategy. How can I convince management that we need to keep trying to make our app viable?
Dr. pROfIt: When I worked at Eddie Bauer, we were one of the first retailers to host an e-commerce website. Those were the days when you couldn’t have more than eight characters in a URL, for crying out loud! I remember our vice president of marketing teasing the e-commerce manager, “Did we get six or seven orders today?”
Nobody laughs at the volume e-commerce websites generate today.
All new marketing channels have a life cycle. Pay close attention to the customers who are using your mobile app. Are they first-time buyers, for instance? If new customers are attracted to your app, communicate this information to management. Get them to view mobile as a customer acquisition vehicle.
If you're finding that the mobile app is being used by existing customers, pay close attention to what those customers do next. If a high percentage of them make subsequent purchases via the app, then you have a pretty good idea that this channel — if it takes off — is going to significantly cannibalize your e-commerce website. If that's the case, there are important strategic implications to this issue.
Track what merchandise categories are being purchased via your mobile app. Is the merchandise limited to what you offer, or does it skew to the lifestyles of the app's users? New purchase channels can achieve success if marketing and merchandising are aligned to the interests of customers.
Explore, research and then teach management how consumers are leveraging new channels like mobile apps. By outlining the benefits of having a mobile app, management is much more likely to sign off on the investment.