Seven Steps For Long-Term Mobile Success

As mobile commerce changes the way consumers are discovering, buying and interacting with retailers, it’s quickly becoming the strategic “fourth channel.”

A successful mobile strategy requires an investment of time and resources and some long-term thinking, but the payback is an increase in revenue, branding and customer loyalty. Once your mobile channel is live and available for consumers to interact with, here are seven steps to ensure that it is a long-term success:

Start by understanding
Be sure to review and discuss the activity within the mobile channel (mobile web and rich apps) with your mobile commerce provider each month. Walk through traffic patterns, user demographics, device patterns, traffic by category, traffic by SKU, and application downloads.

Reporting capabilities with deep analytics will help you understand key metrics to measure ROI. This gives you a complete understanding of what is working and what you can improve.

Realize and adjust your goals
Many retailers’ primary goals with mobile channel are customer acquisition, conversation, transactions, revenue, cart size, and purchase frequency. Additional goals and measurements include branding, time on site, time to transact, return shoppers, SMS promotions signups, app downloads, and promo code usage.

When visiting your mobile site or rich app, customers should be able to easily search, purchase and complete the transaction in 60 seconds or less. You should review all of these areas monthly with your mobile commerce provider so your goals are known and adjustments can be made.

Tune the experience
Once you have designed your mobile site to optimize the user experience and meet your goals, you should focus next on fine-tuning areas that are performing well and make adjustments to areas that need improvement.

For instance, category optimization that best matches your consumers’ needs will make the browsing experience fast and easy. By determining what sells best in a mobile environment, consolidating categories and highlighting best sellers and promoted items, you can help customers finalize their purchases faster, and move on to their next activity.

Build awareness
You need to promote the mobile channel to press and analysts to establish third-party credibility. For outbound marketing, you can introduce your new mobile platform to existing and potential customers via email campaigns, Facebook, Twitter and SMS promotions.

You can also add mobile links to more traditional marketing communication elements (ecommerce, catalog, direct mail, in-store signage, etc). What’s more, promoting your brand through mobile ad networks and linking directly to transactional product pages can direct consumers to your mobile site and increase conversion.

Increase conversion
The mobile channel, if done correctly, should increase conversion and enhance the shopping experience. Offering an elegant and easy-to-navigate experience while optimizing the product feed to only include deliverable, purchasable products will keep the shopping experience quick and easy for consumers and will drive them to checkout.

Similarly, product search and mobile optimized categories will result in speedy transactions for mobile customers.

You should feature and consolidate best-selling items for mobile users and on-the-go products where possible to simplify transactions. Adding product video demonstrations will create a personal introduction to products and making the checkout process as easy and seamless as possible.

Enable multichannel engagement
Enhance the in-store experience by enabling barcode scanning within your rich app that allows customers to learn more about the product and its features, receive on-the-spot promotions, build wish-lists or registries, read ratings and reviews and even see a live video of a store manager speaking to the specific features of the products.

Adding elements of loyalty programs, store check-in, and store surveys to your rich app will create an incentive for customers to use the app on an ongoing basis. If you effectively promote mobile in your print catalog, recipients will be more likely to access your site to shop and purchase via their smart phones rather than placing expensive calls to your contact center.

Displaying up-to-the-minute product information, pricing, special offers, new arrivals, search by brand/price and availability via shop local creates an extremely powerful tool for the consumer. This helps to increase conversion rates when mobile or when in-store.

Keep an ongoing eye on your mobile platform
Once you’ve launched your mobile platform, you must continue to work closely with your mobile commerce provider on an ongoing basis. Regular meetings and business review sessions help ensure consistent communication on web changes and also provides a time to share best practices and analytics. Doing so will ensure you offer your customers the best mobile shopping experience.

David Sikora is CEO of mobile platform and mobile marketplace provider Digby.