September 07, 2011 // By: Heather McIlvaine // 5 Facts About Mobile Commerce
Companies should have two things in mind when deciding how to implement mobile commerce: how will this service deliver new value to my customers, and how will this service be profitable for my company?
Here are some examples: A global manufacturer of baby products uses mobile services to encourage brand loyalty. When customers buy a package of diapers, they receive a short code to send in by phone. This code not only gives the customers points toward a voucher for more products, but it also sets them up in a “new parent” group, where they can share tips and connect with other new parents.
Smartphones in particular provide an opportunity to integrate mobile marketing and time and location information to conduct targeted “nimble campaigns.” For example, a restaurant can send out vouchers for a lunch deal precisely at 11:30. Or a retailer can send out specific offers to customers based on their location.
Companies need to think carefully about which mobile channels they should use to offer mobile services. The main mobile channels are: mobile app, mobile web, USSD, and SMS.
First and foremost, companies should take customer preferences into account. Do most of your customers have smartphones or feature phones? Does your region support the communication infrastructure necessary for an app or website? Many businesses end up using a combination of mobile channels, or start with SMS and then add an app or website over time.
Currently, USSD and SMS are the most popular mobile commerce channels because every phone supports them. As smartphones become more prevalent, however, experts expect more mobile commerce services to be conducted through mobile apps and websites.
Even in the US, SMS reaches about 70 percent of mobile phone users, according to Aaron Maxwell, founder of Mobile Web Up and expert panelist in a mobile commerce forum that took place in May 2011. In comparison, a mobile website reaches 35-40 percent, an iPhone app reaches 7 percent, and an Android app reaches 8 percent.