02 May The 6 Stages of Mobile Shopping You Must Know
The rise of the mobile consumer is undebatable: Chances are, you’re reading this article right now from your smartphone or tablet. As we all continue to use mobile devices in our lives, it is inevitable that we also increasingly use mobile devices for shopping. I spoke with leading expert Chuck Martin, the CEO of Mobile Future Institute and the author of the new Mobile Influence: The New Power of The Consumer.
Martin told me that mobile influence is all about influencing the consumer through the new path to purchase, and that the traditional sales funnel is being replaced by what Martin calls the Mobile Shopping Life Cycle. He said, “With mobile, consumers no longer go shopping, they always are shopping.”
The great news, for you as a consumer? The mobile consumer is totally empowered, so that you shop when and where you want. That same great news, of course, is also a challenge for marketers, salespeople, and anyone who works for a business that sells a product or service today.
The best way to deal with that challenge is to better understand Martin’s Mobile Shopping Life Cycle, and its six stages. Whether you’re a marketer, sales person, or student of business, it’s essential to understand the new, mobile consumer and the cycle of mobile shopping:
1. The Pre—Buy – Consumers do research on the couch using a tablet or smartphone. What will they find when they’re researching you?
2. In Transit – Consumers considering a purchase while on the move. They can be targeted by marketers based on where they are and what they are doing.
3. On Location – At the brick and mortar store, consumers can do further research – and marketers can incentivize the final push to purchase.
4. Selection Process – As consumers travers the aisle, passing specific products, they can be targeted by smart marketers through what’s called proximity marketing.
5. Point of Purchase – This is where mobile payments come into play, but to incent for other things as people buy. Offers and counteroffers can be presented to consumers at checkout!
6. Post-Purchase – This is where consumers use social media to share photos and info on what they just bought. The biggest challenge – and opportunity – is for marketers to become part of the conversation at this point.
So What Do YOU Do Next?
What do you do now that you have this information about the transformation in shopping behavior because of mobile? Here are some suggestions Martin offers about how to move forward:
Check the Steps. How many of the six phases of the Mobile Shopping Life Cycle do you or your company participate in? Add those where you now know you should be.
Leverage Brick and Mortar. If you have a physical store, you already have the mobile shopper on location. Serve them while they are there. Add Wi-Fi so your customers can use their phones in-store. Customers should ask their favorite stores to provide Wi-Fi.
Mobilize Sales Staff. Make sure your sales associates know and understand mobile and what mobile shoppers are doing with their devices while in the store. Arm them with mobile knowhow. Make them customer advocates.
Think Global. Mobile shopping is a global phenomenon, no matter where you are located. Take advantage of potential mobile customers outside your geography.
Capture Phone Numbers. Without your customers’ mobile phone numbers, you won’t likely execute the most comprehensive mobile marketing with them. There are multiple ways of how do to this.
Use Multiple Means. There are many mobile tools that can be used to interact with mobile shoppers. These include SMS, MMS, QR Codes, apps, and mobile websites. Use the tools. Optimize your mobile website.
Price Check. Use price-comparison apps on your products regularly to see what competitors are charging. That is what your mobile shoppers are going to do.
Use Location. Location is one of the most powerful assets of mobile, providing the capability to provide highly relevant influence close to the transaction. Don’t forget the Cool versus Creepy Scale.
Do Something. Waiting is not an option. Test and learn has been rule one in the mobile world since the emergence of the smartphone. Expect to make a mistake or two, then refine and continue.
Reaching the mobile shopper can be tricky. When you and your business reach people through their most intimate devices – their phones and tablets – It’s a careful balance between being cool and being creepy. But all companies must be aware of the new Mobile Shopping Life Cycle. Otherwise, your products may be ruled out of consideration without ever knowing it. Can you master the new art of mobile influence?
Now it’s your turn. Did you read this article on a mobile device? What brands have you noticed doing mobile marketing well? How well has your company adapted to the mobile consumer? Most important, as a consumer yourself, how do you want companies to engage with you through your mobile devices? Let me know in the Comments section below, and please do share this article with your network.
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