The New Power of the Consumer
By Chuck Martin
Palgrave Macmillan Copyright © 2013 Chuck Martin,
All rights reserved.
THE RISE OF THE MOBILE SHOPPER
Mobile is a complete game changer that alters consumer shopping behavior like nothing before it. With mobile, people no longer go shopping; they are shopping. With mobile, the consumer is more, well, mobile, on the go, always connected, and absorbing information in bite-sized pieces. Mobile shoppers are using their phones and tablets at multiple stages of shopping, before, all the way through, and after the purchase transaction, providing new challenges and opportunities for retailers to influence consumer decision making along the way.
Mobile shopping is different for several reasons. First, it is continuous. Unlike traditional non-mobile shopping, the mobile buying process can happen all the time. Consumers no longer have to be at a physical store or sitting at a computer. They can be researching a purchase while watching TV, on a bus or train, or walking down the street. Mobile shopping is also different because location or proximity to sellers and products can be determined. Someone out and about can, with one or two taps, find the location of something they desire or need based on where they are at the moment. The scope of mobile is also massive. By 2016, the number of mobile Web-connected devices should eclipse the number of people on earth, according to the well-known Cisco Visual Networking Index Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast. And lastly, mobile shopping is personal, since the device itself is highly personal and communications through the device are inherently one-to-one, whether by voice, text, pictures, or videos.
Indeed, shopping and buying behaviors are being totally transformed by the ability to buy anything at any time from any place. At physical stores, more than half (58 percent) of consumers who own a smartphone have used it for store-related shopping. And more than half (55 percent) of smartphone shoppers have also used their mobile device to check prices as they shop. At the end of 2014, the number of consumers purchasing physical goods remotely from their handsets is expected to reach 580 million. No matter how big the impact mobile is having on shopping behavior, it is only going to get bigger.
THE MOBILE RIPPLE
It is not only physical retail stores of all shapes and sizes that will be impacted. All brands and sellers of products and services will be affected. The implications are significant, since there can be an effect throughout the shopping process that I call the mobile ripple. For example, when more ticket sales occur through smartphones and tablets, the mobile ripple is how the sales process affects both the number of ticketing agents needed to sell tickets at a physical event and the printing of tickets as more consumers show codes and receipts on their smartphones as they check in. This is already common at airline security checkpoints, where boarding passes are displayed on smartphones.
The number of tickets delivered to mobile phones worldwide is expected to reach 23 billion by 2016 as mobile users adopt mobile tickets as part of their mobile shopping behavior, according to Juniper Research. These include tickets for sporting events, travel, and entertainment events. By that time, NFC (near field communication) mobile ticket sales will account for more than half of mobile ticket revenue, according to the study, which shows one in eight users in Western Europe using their phones as a contactless metro payment ticket.
NBC Universal's Fandango, which sells movie tickets online, already sells more than a third of its movie tickets via mobile devices, and the app has been downloaded more than 25 million times. The mobile ripple over time can mean fewer theater salespeople along with mobile check-in to get into the show. Airlines are following suit, though they didn't start that way. Initially, many airline mobile apps told you simply when your flight would ideally depart and arrive, and some would let you know if your baggage made the same plane you did. Sell you a ticket? Not so much. But by 2015, 89 percent of airlines plan to be selling tickets via mobile, according to a survey of IT trends in the airline industry by the technology firm SITA, originally known as Société Internationale de Télécommunications Aéronautiques. Notably, United Airlines was early in selling tickets via mobile; its mobile efforts are discussed later in the book. The travel website Expedia expects up to half its U.S. hotel bookings to come from mobile in the near future.
THE MOBILE SHOPPING LIFE CYCLE
The traditional sales funnel is dead. It has been replaced by what I call the Mobile Shopping Life Cycle, comprising six specific moments when marketers have the opportunity to impact mobile consumer behavior and purchase decisions. Marketing efforts guided by the traditional sales funnel don't work with mobile because the entire shopping and buying process is iterative rather than serial. In other words, in the old sales funnel, the shopper moved one step at a time toward the purchase and marketers targeted them as they moved closer to making the purchase. With mobile, the process is not in such an organized sequence. The steps of the mobile buying process are happening all the time. But, most importantly, the mobile shopper (m-shopper) can be highly influenced during the six distinct moments when they are using their mobile devices on the go. The six stages of the mobile shopping cycle are influence points. Once marketers understand these six mobile influence points, they can more effectively target information and marketing messages to reach and influence consumers during the Mobile Shopping Life Cycle.
One of the oldest known traditional buying concepts lays out the traditional stages of the selling process. Known as AIDA, which stands for Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action, the concept provides a way to think about how to interact with customers in the process of a sale. Marketers have to get the attention of the customer before even thinking of convincing him of anything. Then they have to increase interest, perhaps by clearly identifying the product benefits they are tryingto sell. Increasing the desire for the product follows by showing how the product may match or satisfy a customer's needs. The last step involves getting the customer to take action, resulting in the sale.
Over time, in the evolution of what became known as the sales funnel or the traditional sales funnel, some of the stages were more defined and refined. They became: awareness, familiarity, consideration, purchase, and loyalty — they still were used as a guideline in how to sway consumers at various stages on the path to purchase. Until recently, consumers were relatively stationary and easy to reach with marketing messages via a centralized, broadcast model. Marketers could reach millions of consumers simultaneously through mass media such as TV or radio.
In the Mobile Shopping Life Cycle, mobile shoppers are active in six phases in the course of an actual purchase. This cycle involves using various aspects of mobile at each phase. At each of these six stages there is the opportunity to sway or influence customer behavior. They are the times, locations, and mind-sets when businesses can interact with mobile-empowered customers to impact the actual purchase. Each of the six phases will continue to expand as smartphone penetration increases with more consumers joining the ranks of mobile shoppers.
THE MOBILE SHOPPING LIFE CYCLE: THE SIX INFLUENCE POINTS
During the six distinct moments of the Mobile Shopping Life Cycle, marketers have the potential to steer the mobile consumer toward their product and influence shopping behaviors.
1. THE SETUP: The Pre-Buy. During this phase the mobile shopper is researching. Consumers use smartphones and tablets to research purchases before they even consider going to the store. Mobile is a pull rather than a push medium. This means that rather than marketers being able to push a message, such as in a TV commercial, to the consumer, they must position information and messages about their products to be pulled by the consumer according to that person's time frame, mind-set, and location.
2. THE MOVE: In Transit. This phase occurs when the consumer is on the way to a store or running an errand. With new location-based capabilities, marketers will be able to leverage information, such as smartphone location and speed, to send highly targeted and relevant messages to consumers who have opted in to receive valuable offers. Marketers will have to create value for consumers in order to incentivize them to leave their location turned on in any given app.
3. THE PUSH: On Location. This point occurs at a brick-and-mortar store. In the early days of the internet, brick and mortar was a detriment to business, since online-only retailers could sell directly to consumers with fewer associated costs. Some retailers are missing the opportunity to identify and interact with the mobile shopper while they are in the store, while others are leveraging the ability to interact.
4. THE PLAY: Selection Process. This is when customers are near the actual product they may be considering buying. With what the mobile industry calls proximity marketing, marketers can use various technologies to interact in real time with customers with the potential to move to real-time pricing. For example, a number of customers could be walking by a particular product and receive real-time offers, such as a discount on that product. Once a number of those products have been sold and based on inventory and price tracking, the offers could be discontinued as the next group of customers walk by. Consumers are scanning products with their smartphones and being provided with on-the-spot price comparisons with easy-to-use but sophisticated technologies.
5. THE WRAP: Point of Purchase. This stage provides the marketer one last chance to sway the buyer. As businesses adopt more mobile self-checkout options and mobile capabilities are embedded into point-of-sale systems, offers and counteroffers can be presented to consumers during the actual buying and checkout process. Companies such as Procter & Gamble and Kraft are in the very early stages of exploring how to insert themselves at this influence point.
6. THE TAKEAWAY: Post-Purchase. This occurs after the actual purchase. In this phase consumers exchange photos, videos, and information about their recent purchase via their mobile devices with friends and colleagues, soliciting and receiving feedback. The challenge for marketers is to become part of the conversation at this stage.
Various brands either participate or plan to participate in various parts of the Mobile Shopping Life Cycle, which we detail in later chapters. Some companies either are or will be active at all six influence points, while others are active in only a limited number of them. In some cases, a mobile shopper can be influenced to jump from one stage of the cycle directly to the actual purchase phase or point of purchase, which we also detail later.
DRIVERS OF MOBILE INFLUENCE
There are two categories of companies that cause and drive mobile influence. I call these two types of businesses captains of mobile influence and facilitators of mobile influence. The captains of mobile influence are those companies that truly get mobile and are deploying mobile initiatives, some on a global basis. The facilitators of mobile influence are those companies that enable and in many cases power the captains of mobile influence.
There are a number of captains of mobile influence, those companies that understand and embrace the transformative nature of mobile. They are well past the early research and development (R&D) and experimental stage and now see mobile as core in all they do. For these companies, mobile is not an afterthought or something they add to an already- conceived marketing plan. It is integral. These are the companies that embrace innovation from companies in the mobile industry and, with open eyes and a willingness to fail, try new approaches to influencing behavior. The captains of mobile influence continually seek best-in-breed mobile technologies and approaches, striving to provide increased value to mobile shoppers throughout the Mobile Shopping Life Cycle.
In addition to the captains of mobile influence, there is a substantial and robust mobile industry that powers much of the mobile activity that customers see and experience. These are the facilitators of mobile influence and many of these companies are hardly household names, though many are well known by the leaders directing the mobile strategies at some of the best-known companies in the world, many of them captains of mobile influence. We call these mobile industry companies that make mobile happen facilitators of mobile influence, since it is their technology or service that underlies much of the mobile and tablet activity today.
Some of these facilitators of mobile influence are led by former heads of internet start-ups from the internet boom years, and others are led by young entrepreneurs with new and innovative ideas. Some of them are very well funded, some are making lots of money, and others are struggling to succeed. Many have talented staff members at all levels of their ranks, and they generally all are moving full steam ahead. The facilitators of mobile influence can be located anywhere geographically, and they are scattered all over the United States.
Although these companies are commonly referred to as mobile start-ups, many of them have been doing what they do for a number of years. Sometimes they are called start-ups because they just got discovered by a company that finally needed that particular mobile function and never had a need to search for companies that could provide it until now. In all cases, the goal of these facilitators is to power and empower other companies to succeed in the word of mobile. All the mobile companies involved in any type of selling or transacting fall into one of the six influence points, and some, as you will see later in the book, are active in many or all of the six stages.
Throughout the book we identify the captains of mobile influence and the facilitators of mobile influence and attempt to show what they do and, in many cases, how they do it.
BRANDS MOVING TO MOBILE
Mondelez International comprises the global snacking and food brands of the former Kraft Foods Inc. and was officially created in late 2012. With about 100,000 employees around the world and estimated annual revenue of $36 billion, Mondelez represents some of the best-known brands and products in the world, including Nabisco, Cadbury, Oreo, Trident, Halls, Chips Ahoy, Milka, and Tang, to name a few. The company is also one of the captains of mobile influence.
Some of the brands leading with mobile innovation are large and global, like Mondelez, which does not see its size as a disadvantage. "I actually do not subscribe to slow and lumbering," says Bonin Bough, vice president of global media and consumer engagement at Mondelez International. "I actually believe that if you look at our company, maybe there is a bit more paperwork necessary than for a smaller organization, but if you look at the rate at which we can effect change in reality, I can create platforms that have millions of users overnight."
Just because a company is large, with established processes in place, doesn't mean it can't also be relatively nimble in mobile. However, a company does need a corporate recognition of the significance of mobile and the leadership commitment to allocate significant resources. Mondelez approaches the mobile marketplace with a clear vision of the importance of mobile. "We are the world's largest start-up," says Bough. "We have a single mantra, which is about speed. Beat the market, beat the thinking, beat the profitability. I actually think that you will see that what used to be looked at as big, lumbering organizations will now be looked at as levers to change the world. The difference is that scale. I can operate at scale in a way that most organizations can't. We are one of the largest food companies in the world, and that comes with a scale that allows you to put things into the marketplace."
The captains of mobile influence tend to take both a short- and long-term view of the implications of a world gone mobile. They tend to look beyond incremental change and slow growth, leaning toward rapidly keeping pace with their customers. "We are looking to shift 10 percent of all media spending globally into mobile with a focus on how do we make sure we are where the consumer is," says Bough. (The typical level of advertising spending on mobile is less than 1 percent, as detailed later in the book.)
"It requires being a part of an organization that has great leadership," says Bough. "My leadership said yep, put it into the market. Do it quick, do it fast, do it often. (Continues...)
Excerpted from Mobile Influence by Chuck Martin. Copyright © 2013 Chuck Martin,. Excerpted by permission of Palgrave Macmillan.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.