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Arc Worldwide exec: Mobile is not a silo channel

During the “Understanding the Mobile Shopper” session, the executive spoke about the new mobile shopper and what consumers are doing on their mobile devices. The executive also discussed how retailers and marketers are still in the process of understanding what makes the mobile shopper tick.

“When we talk about mobile shopping, we talk about the transaction, but we are also thinking about the broader decision-making process, and the incentive and bits of information that lead to a transaction,” said Nick Fotis, digital strategy manager at Arc Worldwide, Chicago.

The panel was part of Mobile Marketing Day in Chicago, organized by the Chicago Association and Mobile Marketer. The event was sponsored by Microsoft Advertising, Vibes Media and Mobile Marketer.

Mobile shoppers
Mr. Fotis presented data from eMarketer that found that retail is the fastest growing mobile channel, pointing to the urgency that retailers should be looking at.

Mobile has the opportunity to affect a shopper in a full buying circle, which includes consideration, decision and transaction.

Nowadays, consumers are using multiple channels and devices to impact their shopping decisions, including tablets, smartphones, social media and in-store experiences.

According to research from Pew Research, smartphone ownership jumped from 35 percent in May 2011 to 46 percent in February 2012, showing that marketers should be focusing mobile campaigns primarily with smartphone owners in mind.

Eighty-four percent of smartphone owners access the Internet compared to 15 percent of feature phone owners.

Smartphone owners are not just affluents. Smartphone ownership is up across the board with all age groups and demographics.

Android still rules when it comes to smartphone device ownership, however the operating system is highly fragmented, making it difficult for brands to roll out campaigns that will look the same across all Android screens.

Marketers need to think about more than just devices though to include mobile, per Mr. Fotis.

“It is beyond just the device itself, the behavior and what consumers are doing with them is changing the shopping game,” Mr. Fotis said.

Mobile trends
The presentation also outlined a few trends of mobile shoppers.

According to a study from IAB, Houston is the most mobile shopping-savvy city in the United States based on device ownership, mobile coupon influence and ownership of both a retail and social media application.

Men and women also have different behaviors on mobile. Men are more likely to read reviews online, and women are more likely to call a friend for advice on what they should buy.

In particular, mobile is playing a large role for how social media is consumed. In a study from comScore, there was a 77 percent year-over-year increase in consumers who accessed social media via their devices.

Mobile devices are also being used primarily at home, showing how mobile users are not necessarily on the go.

Certain categories such as digital products, apparel and tickets are popular items that are bought on mobile. To compare, larger-ticket items including airplane tickets, hotels and electronics are less popular, per Mr. Fotis.

The difference between tablet and smartphone behaviors is also an area to watch as mobile commerce grows.

“There is an ongoing conversation in the smartphone versus tablet shopping,” Mr. Fotis said.

“Overall, when on a couch, the behavior from an iPad is more focused on shopping and smartphone activity is more task-oriented,” he said.

Final Take
Nick Fotis is digital strategy manager at Arc Worldwide, Chicago