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Unbound Commerce exec: Mobile strategy trumps tactics

During the “Mobile as a Driver to Retail” panel, mobile experts discussed how mobile applications, email, SMS, Web and QR codes play a role in retailer’s mobile efforts. The executives also spoke about how mobile commerce differs from Web commerce.

“The PC is not meant for real-world interactions,” said Wilson Kerr, vice president of business development and sales at Unbound Commerce, Boston.

“What we really need to talk about is how to link mobile commerce transactions with the real world,” he said. “Mobile has the unique ability to meet dollars.”

The panel was part of Mobile Marketing Day in Chicago, organized by the Chicago Association and Mobile Marketer. The event was sponsored by Microsoft Advertising, Vibes Media and Mobile Marketer.

Mickey Alam Khan, editor in chief of Mobile Marketer and Mobile Commerce Daily, New York, moderated the session.

Multichannel strategy
The goal of retailers testing mobile is ultimately to drive in-store traffic, per Mr. Kerr.

In particular, mobile advertising plays a large role in getting retailers to drive both in-store traffic and mobile commerce if a campaign is executed correctly.

Certain retailers are taking advantage of mobile advertising to let consumers buy things directly from a banner ad, which can be difficult to execute. Instead, by leading users to a commerce-enabled landing page, brands can leverage their mobile advertising efforts to lead to an activity with a measurable result.

Mobile bar codes are also a channel that brands are using to drive sales.

For example, Unbound Commerce recently worked with Rockport on a live demonstration in New York for a product launch campaign that let users scan a mobile bar code to shop a new line of shoes (see story).

Brands that use mobile bar codes can come away from a touch point with a measurable metric, per Mr. Kerr.

According to Tim Miller, CEO of Sumotext, Little Rock, AR, SMS and MMS can help retailers build loyalty, deliver local coupons and up-sell products.

Additionally, SMS can be used to collect email addresses, which is critical to helping a brand build a database that can be used to send relevant messages.

However, SMS is not a mobile strategy. Instead, apps, mobile Web, email and other channels need to be included.

Panelists at Results 2012: Mobile Marketing Day

Mobile email?
RJ Taylor, director of product marketing at ExactTarget, Indianapolis, IN, said that retailers need to think about ways to include email into their mobile initiatives.

For example, SMS and email go hand-in-hand as ways to let consumers know about promotions and deals.

However, the two channels need to be treated differently.

Mobile email tends to be used for longer promotions while SMS is used for more urgent, quick sales. Social media, which has high mobile usage rates, is also a great way to remind users about a promotion.

Optimizing emails for mobile devices is also very critical.

According to a new report from Knotice, 27 percent of all emails opened during the second half of 2011 were opened via mobile devices, showing how consumers rely on their mobile devices to read their email on a regular basis.

Therefore, it is necessary for brands to optimize all parts of their mobile campaign. Users are not only reading emails on their mobile devices, they are also acting on them on the spot.

However, data is still king when it comes to creating tailored campaigns.

Apps give brands a way to measure engagement and mobile ads can be relevant if used with data that is relevant to users.

Similarly, SMS is still an important channel but needs to be included with data to make it more personalized.

“People do not send a million text messages a day because a good amount of the messages are between people they already know,” said Dave Lawson, director of mobile engagement at Knotice, Akron, OH .

“They still needs to bring value with better exchanges and understanding of their behaviors,” he said.

Final Take
Wilson Kerr is vice president of business development and sales at Unbound Commerce, Boston