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Huntington Bank reduces call center volume 30pc with mobile: Dell exec

NEW YORK – Mobile has to be an integral part of marketers’ advertising and marketing efforts, according to a Dell executive’s presentation at the Mobile Shopping Summit.

Brandon McGee, mobile strategist of consumer business at Dell, New York, said during his “Understanding the 101 on mobile: Where do you start when building your mobile roadmap” panel that consumers will connect to the Internet via mobile more than desktop PCs in the next five years.

“The opportunity is that mobile threads through all of the facets of the shopping experience,” Mr. McGee said. “Careful planning gives maximum consumer interaction.”

Mobile industry
According to Gartner Symbian currently leads in global smartphone marketshare, with Android, RIM and iOS not too far behind. The same study found that by 2014 Android will lead globally.

Mr. McGee said that brands’ application and Web strategy has to consider all the relevant operating systems for ubiquity.

Currently, smartphones and feature phones share the marketplace. But research indicates that although feature phone users do engage with brands and retailers via mobile, smartphone users do more with their devices.

According to Nielsen, smartphones and feature phones will have 50/50 marketshare by the third quarter of 2011.

“Over half the consumer market uses their mobile phone to shop,” Mr. McGee said. “They are calling friends while in-store to ask about a product, texting to ask something, sending pictures of products and looking to the mobile Internet to get coupons and special offers while shopping.”

Reach and frequency are important to marketers.

SMS has the most reach of all the mobile channels currently. Actually, 72 percent of all mobile users send and receive SMS.

Benefits of the mobile Web
Brands and retailers such as Dell are using mobile Web sites and applications to let consumers browse their products, purchase and also for branding support.

Also there are advertising, branding and social components to mobile Web sites and applications.

With Dell’s mobile Web site, the objective was to leverage the ubiquitous access of the mobile Web and its ability to reach the mass market.

With a mobile Web site, the search component is important. Companies need to have an adequate mobile search strategy so that consumers can find them.  Searching “laptop” on Google Mobile search turns up Dell’s mobile Web site.

Why applications?
The benefit of applications is the GPS component, which is key for store locators.

Also, the ability to be able to leverage a device’s native functionality such as the accelerometer, contacts, pictures, camera and calendar is very attractive to many marketers.

“The richer user experience with the apps is what makes them so attractive to marketers,” Mr. McGee said. “And it’s great for a brand’s loyal customers.

SMS for brands
SMS is great for companies’ sales and marketing alerts. The channel is also being used for e-support.

The response rate for SMS messages is better than that of email.

Mr. McGee said that applications that leverage the camera and bar codes are hot right now. Also image recognition and bar codes for product search is going to be big as well.

Already, brands such as Best Buy, Starbucks and Amazon are leveraging bar codes in-application.

Best practices
Mr. McGee provided some best practices.

1. Research the space. Understand the industry.

2. Figure out an objective, who the audience is, budget range, solutions that are best suited and whether competitors are active in this space.

3. What is the business case? Revenue? Call-center reduction? Improved satisfaction?

4. Have a mobile team in place to spearhead the effort.

Mr. McGee said Huntington Bank was able to reduce calls to its call center by 30 percent after incorporating mobile into its strategy.

According to Gartner, by the end of 2011, 12.5 percent of all ecommerce transactions will be mobile. Average order size is up 30-40 percent when the experience is optimized for mobile.

Electronics are the No. 1 purchased products on mobile.

“Your mobile commerce presence needs to be secure,” Mr. McGee said. “Use mobile device identification and location information to authenticate the users.

“Make sure that it is a single integrated experience for the customer,” he said. “Tools must be in sync. All marketing and advertising must include a mobile call to action.”