The holiday shopping season is upon us, and with it, continued growth of smartphone and tablet engagement with brands and retailers. Both Black Friday and Cyber Monday saw sharp upticks in mobile engagement, with eBay reporting a 153% YOY growth in mobile transactions and IBM Coremetrics reporting that 58% of U.S. consumers used a smartphone to help them shop, while iPad users alone accounted for 10% of all online shopping traffic.
Retailers, both online and brick & mortar, have been actively following this consumer-led trend and are investing heavily to appeal to customers wandering around in-store and among shelves with their connected devices. Thanks to their direct sales model, they have clear ROI goals in mind when they implement mobile marketing tactics.
Now that we are a “Smartphone Nation,” with penetration approaching 60% of wireless users, it’s time for CPG brand managers to ponder the 3 Phases of Mobile Engagement and to evaluate which phase they are in.
Phase 1: Most mobile investments are considered “brand building” and are often “cost centers” that implement table stakes mobile experiences: a scraped .com site or a smartphone app that leverages brand assets but is infrequently used, post-download, unless there is real utility and value provided. These initiatives are often curtailed, or killed, when other marketing investment take precedence.
Phase 3, the Holy Grail, is direct sales via a brand-controlled commerce experience. While rare, it’s on the increase as brands engage in careful “co-opetition” with their retail channel partners.
So what is in Phase 2? Using mobile tactics to drive trial of your products, leading to ongoing engagement that can result in direct or 3rd party sales. This phase has been mostly overlooked to date, but with consumers continuing to depend on smartphones to search for recommendations, ratings, and competitive pricing, and with eMarketer reporting that in Q2, 2012, 20% of smartphone owners were beginning to make CPG-related purchases, it’s time for CPG brands to jump in…and in our next installment, we’ll tell you how.