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Petco exec: Use mobile to build two-way communication

SAN FRANCISCO – A Petco executive at the Mobile Shopping Summit offered best practice regarding what companies should do in the mobile space once their mobile site and apps are up and running.

Panelists during the “If You Build It Will They Come…And Come Back Again? Engaging Customers In The Mobile Channel” session discussed best practices for engaging in two-way conversation with consumers. The panel was moderated by Bernadine Wu, CEO of FitForCommerce, New York.

“Customer engagement is all about giving them what they want and need and where they want and need it,” said Katie Grisko, Web strategy manager at Petco, San Diego. “That’s the beauty of mobile.

“You can’t be all things to all people, certainly,” she said, “Customers want to have a conversation with you and they want you to provide them with the content they’re looking for.

“People want that two-way conversation and they want to carry on with that conversation when it’s right for them.”

Consumer engagement
According to David Eads, product marketing lead at Kony Solutions, Atlanta, customer engagement is about getting consumers comfortable with getting involved with a brand.

“You want to see if they come back to your mobile site or app over and over,” Mr. Eads said. “It’s about understanding what they like and what they don’t like.

“From a mobile perspective, the ratings and reviews is a key component of mobile,” he said. “Mobile is more multichannel than any technology we use in retail.

“There’s still retailers who run their businesses completely separate and mobile is bringing those two worlds back together.”

It is important to have analytics in all channels, per Mr. Eads.

“In a native app, you have to have native analytics,” Mr. Eads said. “If you can engage with them with the signage in the store and to be able to tie that in-store experience or that mobile experience, that’s the holy grail.

“But a lot of people that we’re working with are trying to figure that out,” he said. “You need those basics in place.”

Mobile holy grail
Deepak Thomas, general manager of mobile classifieds at eBay, San Francisco, said that measuring metrics is very important when companies are trying to understand who their consumers are.

“For me it’s the amount of time that people spend on your properties,” Mr. Thomas said. “Mobile can be mutated to something more meaningful.”

The executive said that companies looking to extend to mobile should think of unique content for the specific channel, as opposed to copying and pasting from their Web site.

“Taking the most popular Web site features and adopting them to mobile is passé at this point,” Mr. Thomas said. “There’s so much noise out there as mobile as a channel.

“As far as mobile versus Web engagement – it’s definitely on the uptake,” he said. “Apple has been instrumental in making mobile happen.”

Final Take
Herman Nell, vice president of Petco, discusses mobile