Since their launch in the 1980s, mobile phones have come a long way, to such an extent that mobile marketing is increasingly becoming seen as the future of digital marketing and it’s most important area. This would not have been possible if mobile phone useage had not become so widespread and the phones themselves so sophisticated and flexible.
Users now come from every part of the demographic spectrum; from teenagers to senior citizens and from new employeees to senior managers and business owners. Increasingly what is termed Mobile Commerce or “m-commerce” is taking over from Electronic Commerce or “e-commerce” as the preferred choice of purchase for consumers. Research by eBay has revealed that mobile shopping could receive a £4.5bn boost in the UK alone by 2016, rising to as much as £19bn by 2021.
This research also revealed that m-commerce is on the verge of a potential four-fold increase, increasing to £6bn over the next five years, as consumers become more accustomed to shopping from their portable devices.
Consumers in the USA check their emails more from their mobile phones than from their laptop or PC. The UK, Europe and Australia are increasingly set to follow suit. The infrastructure for mobile marketing already exists, as does consumer demand for it, so m-commerce must surely continue to expand exponentially.
Mobile phones are the most direct way to communicate, more so than land lines, laptops or computers, for reasons that speak for themselves. Surprisingly, at least to older commentators, mobile users also consider that mobiles are non-intrusive. Mobile marketing is 100 per cent opt-in, so consumers do not regard mobile communications as being pushed on them.
One in five smartphone owners now use mobile apps to shop and more and more businesses are launching fully optimised mobile sites. The profitability of this sector can only continue to expand. Spending on mobile advertising more than doubled in 2010.
Mobile vouchers have a much higher redemption rate than printable ones. They can be targeted to be more relevant to consumers. Marketing that makes use of “Geo-targeting” will become increasingly possible thanks to the tracking technology now available – many people never leave home without their phone – so different offers and content based on the location can be made available to phone users as they go online via their mobiles. This can be used to offer short-term deals, maybe only for a few hours, based on where a user is visiting and delivered directly via their mobile and personalised to take account of the user’s buying and search history online. This will be able to lead to a higher level of engagement with the user and bring a much better chance of more click-throughs and sales.
Surveys reveal that apps are the most popular m-commerce purchase online with almost 40 per cent of shoppers recently buying one, followed by music (30 per cent), clothes (25 per cent) and e-books (23 per cent). Men are more likely to buy apps or take-away meals from their mobile and women are more likely to buy clothes. Older people tended to buy e-books, younger people apps (especially in the 18 to 34 range) and music.
When asked why they had used their mobile over other purchasing choices, over 50 per cent said they did so as it was the most convenient. For the mobile marketer, this reinforces the notion of the “always-on” consumer. There’s no need to wait for users to check emails, log into Facebook or Twitter, pick up the landline or open their post, the mobile gives a direct route to the pocket!
The full effects of this mobile revolution on the digital world remains to be seen. As the technology evolves, the mobile will become increasingly pervasive and marketers seeking to maximise their revenue and maintain their competitive edge will have to evolve with it. All that remains is for marketers to utilise the technology that will be available or be left behind.
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