Mobile marketing has always been a wild mix of technologies – from SMS,
MMS and Bluetooth to branded iPhone apps. Choosing a tactic is often
done based on a hunch, rather than hard data; ROI discussions are
frequently limited to “X AppStore downloads” or “Y messages sent”. But,
in a market where “brand awareness” is one of the major objectives, this
seems to work year after year.
Enter mobile commerce, where metrics play a far greater role. The space
is heating up – there is a lot of creative experiments going on (look at
the variety of commerce-enabled iPad apps in the Nielsen usability
study alone!). Consumers are getting more comfortable with buying
from a mobile device (thanks to the many appstores), which was confirmed
by Google reps at the recent EMetrics. Mobile checkouts themselves
are more vibrant and faster than ever before. Suddenly there is a lot of
very different technologies competing for the m-commerce crown.
First of all, there are iPhone/iPad apps that have purchasing
functionality integrated through an advanced API – Gilt and
Amazon are good examples of that. The buying process is smooth
but native UI implementation is quite expensive and faces fragmentation
issues just like other apps. Existing e-commerce platforms like
Magento are adding mobile themes & plugins to their default
packages. Mobile adaptation platforms like those of UsableNet,
Digby or our own Mobify Enterprise take an existing checkout
flow mobile; mobile-only commerce solutions are also starting to appear.
As an online retailer, what should you pick?
The answer is in the ROI. Online retailers report that conversion
rates for mobile users using web checkouts are 70-80% lower than on
desktop.Mobile users are already arriving in droves – through organic
and paid search, affiliate marketing portals, email newsletters and so
forth. Making existing online stores mobile-friendly (without breaking
the URLs) is the easiest way to enter the mobile space – with an ROI
that’s guaranteed to increase over time. 300-500% conversion lift on
mobile is there for anybody willing to invest in optimizing their web
checkout for a small screen.
Whether it’s a mobile stylesheet, Magento or Mobify, mobile web remains
the logical first step to a complete mobile commerce strategy.