Strategies for Success in the M-Commerce Age
Mobile commerce is destined to be the big buzz of 2016 … with 95 percent growth in 2015 over the previous year. Expectations vary, but it’s likely that mobile devices will soon overtake computers as the leading avenue for e-commerce.
Brands and retailers alike welcome the attention they’re receiving on mobile devices, but such abrupt change means marketers and designers of mobile apps and websites have to work together to understand this new behavior. The best way to do this is using research to measure and understand consumer behavior and develop practical applications from these insights, which your marketing team can then use to create engaging mobile strategies.
Let’s briefly explore five strategies brand stewards and retailers should consider when developing their mobile strategy:
1. Understand consumers’ physical interactions with smartphones. How shoppers feel their way through a mobile site or app cannot be measured through clicks and impressions. However, it is measurable using precision eye-tracking technology. For example, in a recent study about understanding how users interact with social media, Eye Faster discovered that much of the screen is blocked by the user’s thumb scrolling through their feeds. This has major implications for attention, which was largely focused on the left side of the screen (for right-handed users).
When designing a m-commerce environment, it’s important to understand that the most important information (e.g., product pictures) need to be placed left of center, with secondary information placed to the right.
2. Design mobile sites and apps to drive engagement. In a recent study with a major media firm, we found the functionality of certain social media applications can be mirrored in mobile commerce and consumers react positively. For example, the smooth scrolling and never-ending nature of Twitter is extremely appealing to customers. Mobile commerce designers could create product pages as a never-ending scroll through products, moving from one related category to another. This increases engagement (i.e., time spent) on the app or site, which increases the likelihood for conversion.
3. Keep mobile advertising simple and direct. Brand messages have a half a second to draw attention and convey a message before users move on. Much like out-of-home advertising, messages displayed via mobile should be simple and direct. In half a second, an individual can read and understand three words to five words at most, so consider the most concise way to express your message to drive further action such as following an advertisement to your mobile site.
Given the option, users will ignore advertising at all costs. Don't expect users to watch a 30-second spot (with the exception of YouTube pain walls); it's not going to happen. If video is your chosen medium, follow the lead of Vine and keep them under six-and-a-half seconds.
4. Leverage location-based technology for precise targeting. Leveraging location data received from one’s mobile purchase trail can tell retailers when and where to target consumers to increase the chances of trigger sales. Understanding where your customer is when making purchases (e.g., at home, commuting, at work, out and about) allows marketers to be creative when leveraging location data in their campaigns.
Using weather data or current events paired with GPS data can offer shoppers the right deal at the right time to match them with items they need at that time. For example, target customers with umbrellas, boots and raingear during the rainy seasons in the South, with heavier targeting on days forecast to rain.
5. Measure the breadth of your mobile presence with customers. While data will tell you how much of your sales are driven by email marketing, social media and online advertising, measuring the visual effectiveness of it all provides a bigger picture of the three-way relationship between a brand, the customer and their mobile phone.
Using eye-tracking technology helps to understand what's attractive about photos, text and advertising. Designs that include bright colors, people’s faces and favorable logos tend to draw attention.
As with physical stores, mobile environments should be tailored to promote a similar emotional response in the shopper, one that connects on a visceral level in order to drive purchases. By paring eye tracking with facial coding software, marketers can gain an understanding of the emotional reaction to shopping for goods on a mobile device and what causes excitement and anticipation that may lead to purchase.
Kirk Hendrickson is the CEO of Eye Faster, a market research tool to better understand how customers interact with retail locations and products.
Kirk Hendrickson is the CEO of Eye Faster, a leading provider of shopper research, developed his expertise in eye tracking and shopper research while leading worldwide field operations for EmSense Corporation and product management for MarketTools, Inc. Kirk holds a patent for conducting surveys on mobile phones and was twice a finalist for the EXPLOR Awards. Kirk holds an MBA from the Amos Tuck School of Business Administration, Dartmouth College, and a BS and MS in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University.