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Target exec: Mobile ultimate connector for retail success

During the “Mobile commerce trends: How rapid retailer and consumer adoption of mobile will forever change the retail landscape” session, panelists talked about the growing trends affecting the mobile space. The panel was moderated by Stacey Larson, president/CEO of One Media Group. The conference was organzied by Mobile Commerce Daily.

“Mobile is really the ultimate connector for us,” said Dan Fine, director of digital experience at Target, Minnepolis, MN. “If you think about the mobile device, it’s about being wherever your consumer is and that becomes connected – and that is really powerful.

“We look to drive what is useful and desired by our consumers and that’s first and foremost,” he said. “Our employees are there to help service our guests and any apps that we do are to serve our guests.

“It’s also about how we take all this information and present it in a meaningful way to consumers.”

Mobile target
According to Mr. Fine every retailer is different.

It is important for companies to understand who their consumers are.

“At the end of the day, a consumer has one wallet and you just simply can’t look at the term cannibalization,” Mr. Fine said. “For us, it’s about how we can get the largest share for that wallet.

“How do we make it easy for her to get done what she needs done,” he said. “The competitive nature for other revenues of purchases – it’s a challenge, there are more players now.

“We know that value means more than just price.”

Mobile should be a seamless experience.

It should always be an extension of a brand’s overall initiative.

According to Mr. Fine, a company’s strategy should focus more on the customer experience.

“As adoption changes and technology changes over time, you have to be ready for that,” Mr. Fine said.

Purchase intent
Consumers are gradually looking to their mobile devices to help them make purchase decisions.

More customers are using smartphones in-store to check prices and browse reviews.

“I think that one of the things that we’re seeing is the various apps out there and the power that mobile presents,” said Ivan Braiker, CEO of Hipcricket, Seattle.

“We’re seeing a lot of our clients being able to reach out to consumers and send them coupons via their mobile device,” he said. “The consumers and the brands are creating a tribal relationship where the brand acts like a tribal leader.”

Piece of mobile
According to Nick Cook, director of business development at Usablenet, New York, mobile bridges the gap.

The executive agreed that mobile provides tools for consumers to make a purchase decision.

Mr. Cook said that there are many retailers who have hit the nail on the head with mobile, while others still do not get it.

Companies looking to extend their presence to the mobile space should make the experience seamless and frictionless, according to Jay Highley, president of Pangea Partners, Indianapolis.

“We need to continue to work together and make that experience relevant  and that we don’t over clutter the space,” Mr. Highley said. “We’re still a little guilty of using the mobile device as a laptop.

“A mobile piece in a company’s strategy is important,” he said. “The next frontier is measurement tracking.”

Retailers are able to use mobile as a funnel to project prices and savings.

Companies are using different components of mobile such as SMS, mobile bar codes and applications to engage consumers.

“Once you go ahead and create the funnel, then you can allow the loyalty program to grow and that could increase continued purchases from that consumer,” said Craig Besnow,

“If you want to reach consumers, more and more consumers are demanding to talk to more retailers via their mobile devices,” he said. “If you’re not talking to your consumer on mobile then you’re not talking to them.

“If you can create a relationship with that customer in their [mobile] wallet then that’s key. Mobile is a convenience.”

Final Take