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Time of day is key to mobile commerce strategy: Crisp Media exec

NEW YORK – Although mobile marketers might still be stumped about how to best leverage their mobile campaigns, time of day can be a great way for brands to send specific, targeted messages, according to a Crisp Media executive at the 4th annual Mobile Marketing Day conference.

The “Mobile Commerce: How Customers Want to Shop Their Favorite Retail Brands” session presented ways for retailers to best tap into mobile commerce with apps, mobile Web sites, social media and advertising. The session was moderated by Rimma Kats, associate editor on Mobile Marketer and Mobile Commerce Daily, New York.

“It is important to be strategic about how a consumer gets to you,” said Tom Limongello, vice president of marketing at Crisp Media, New York.

“It is about figuring out how to get your product in a better position with shelf space,” he said.

Mobile traffic
When it comes to mobile, users can come into contact with a brand from a variety of places, and it is important to think about where a consumer is interacting with a company across multiple channels.

For example, certain brands have a strong Facebook and Twitter presence and with both social networks rolling out plans for mobile advertising, the opportunities for mobile marketers are huge.

Although mobile applications do play a large role for retailers and brands, mobile Web is also important. When consumers choose to leave an app to look at a retailer’s product for example, they are most likely taken to a Web site, making optimization critical.

Merchandising also plays a large role for mobile commerce. By putting an emphasis on the most important and new products, retailers face the challenge of getting consumers attention quickly on a small device.

To help make mobile shopping easier for consumers, retailers and brands are increasingly using APIs from social media sites to fill out information for users.

As far as brands that are getting mobile commerce right, Mr. Limongello segmented out Urban Outfitters, Neiman Marcus and as retailers that are easy to check-out on and are still interactive.

Additionally, the travel industry is also using mobile effectively to drive sales, such as Kayak’s line of apps and mobile site.

Cloud shopping?
According to an executive from Usablenet, with the evolution of mobile more consumers are shopping in new ways.

“Customers do not expect to shop differently on different devices, which the cloud lets them do with desktop, smartphone and tablets,” said Paul Maass, head of business development at Usablenet, New York.

When developing a mobile Web site, retailers need to think about ways to include key parts of a Web site instead of a stripped-down version.

For example, if a retailer offers a wish list on its Web site, it should also be available on a mobile site.

In addition to making sure that a mobile site is optimized, it is also important for load times to be quick.

For companies that are new to mobile, many retailers want to roll out a full suite of mobile products – including mobile Web sites, apps and mobile bar codes.

However, it is best for retailers to focus on one channel, develop learnings and then try out more mobile initiatives that are based on their findings.

Retailers also need to remember that mobile users access content through a variety of different channels – including email and social media, making a fully-rounded strategy crucial.

As an example of a retailer that Mr. Maass believe is getting mobile right, Best Buy’s second version of its app lets users pick items up in-store.

Killer speed?
An executive from Webtrends on the panel said that speed is the No. 1 game changer for retailers’ mobile strategy

Navigation is also important on mobile Web sites when users have shorter attention spans and do not have time to dig through content to find what they are looking for.

Making sure that content is relevant to users is also key.

Retailers are constantly faced with the issue to develop either a mobile app or Web site, and can make the decision based on data.

Benjamin Diggles, senior manager of mobile at Webtrends, Portland, OR said that mobile apps can convert up to 30 percent of iPhone users for sales.

In order to target users effectively, retailers are looking for data, which requires loyalty and trust from consumers who are only willing to give up their information if there is a clear incentive involved.

“It is a struggle because people are apprehensive to give up data and trying to collect as much information as possible,” Mr. Diggles said.

“New acquisitions take time and it is a delicate song and dance,” he said.

Final Take
Tom Limongello is vice president of marketing at Crisp Media, New York