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Hewlett-Packard ramping up mobile marketing and commerce initiatives: MMF

NEW YORK – At the Mobile Marketing Association’s Mobile Marketing Forum, a Hewlett-Packard Co. executive revealed that the company is testing mobile coupon initiatives and is in the process of developing commerce-enabled properties.  

The presentation also focused on mobile’s impact on the shopping experience and why HP is ramping up its mobile initiatives: The HP mobile experience is solving customer pain points and removing barriers to closing sales.

“At HP we’re really leading the way on this new engagement shopper marketing—we’re very focused on the in-store experience,” said Tia Newcomer, director of Americas shopper marketing at HP, Palo Alto, CA. “We’re working with industry partners to expand the definition of mobile commerce across the path to purchase and focus on the digital world that mobile falls into.

“Mobile encompasses the entire path to purchase of shopper marketing,” she said. “We are living in the midst of a revolution—the industry is buzzing, and mobile represents a fundamental shift in the way we do business.

“Think about how in a short amount of time mobile has impacted marketing and the way we live now—socioeconomic and cultural interactions.”

HP believes the $1.2 billion it is paying to acquire Palm will accelerate its growth within the $100 billion-plus connected mobile device market (see story).

Mobile marketing to drive commerce
Ms. Newcomer said that she encourages to learn, refine, test and move on based on those learnings to get ahead.

Mobile devices represent the only connection consumers have to the outside world while in store or away from their PC.

“The mobile device is shoppers’ empowerment—it’s the one thing that is with them at all times,” Ms. Newcomer said. “People would rather cut off their left arm than give up their mobile phone, and looking at how engaged people are with their mobile phone, how personal it is, what does that mean for our business and our marketing strategy?

“Shoppers’ path to purchase is not linear, it’s all over the map, so we need to ask ourselves where is mobile and how does mobile play in that process?” she said. “Mobile is absolutely essential in that shopper-marketing-driven path to purchase.

“Mobile is the digital bridge connecting customers’ on-the-go lives to HP when they are away from their PC—mobile is a form of digital media that can drive consumers to bricks-and-mortar locations.”

Ms. Newcomer said that 96 percent of HP shoppers go online to research products, and 79 percent of those make a purchase in-store.

Adding an element of mobile interactivity can enhance that shopping experience and drive purchase intent when the shopper is ready to make a buying decision, while they are out and  about or in store.

“Mobile helps multichannel shoppers feel more confident and find what they need faster, helping them feel much more confident in their purchase,” Ms. Newcomer said. “How do you make experience seamless across shoppers’ journey as they are researching products?

“Experience is king, and the best brands provide a very good shopper experience that is the same no matter where you are—the online, mobile and in-store experience has the same tone, the same feel,” she said.

Mobile comparison shopping strikes fear into the hearts of brands and retailers, but they can use mobile to turn that to their advantage with mobile couponing initiatives or other loyalty and customer relationship management initiatives.

“For all of our customers, price is very important,” Ms. Newcomer said. “We’re in a low-margin industry, so mobile is very important to tell people to stay in the store, stay in this environment and make a purchase now.”

HP is testing mobile coupons that can be redeemed at their retail partners’ point of sale, as well as mobile bar code initiatives, and Ms. Newcomer hinted that the company is currently developing a commerce-enabled mobile Web site and/or application.

“We are piloting mobile offers, because using those incentives to get more information about consumers to have an ongoing CRM-type relationship with them,” Ms. Newcomer said. “They will be integrated at the POS so the offer is activated when they come in with their phone by typing in a PIN code.

“Why mobile? It solves customer pain points, it overcomes shopper barriers, and I believe that from a mobile perspective, designing from the store back or a shopper-first perspective is key, particularly for mobile commerce,” she said.

From a mobile store locator to asking them to opt-in for mobile coupons, giving the consumers the choice of how they want to interact with the brand is important.

Integrating mobile into a brand’s multichannel strategy is also vital.

“Mobile has to be part of that entire shopper journey,” Ms. Newcomer said. “Mobile must cross all touchpoints for awareness and adoption—there’s a whole element of interactivity.

“How do you make it fun and engaging and part of your overall campaign?” she said. “There’s lots of working going on there at HP as well.”