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Vibes Media exec: Showroomers are mobile power users


NEW YORK – A Vibes Media executive at the Mobile Marketing Summit said that showrooming is not necessarily bad for retailers if they combat it correctly.

The Vibes executive presented best practice tips during the “How to Develop and Execute an Effective Mobile Marketing Campaign” session. Additionally, the session presented recent research on mobile shopping from Vibes.

“If you have a bad experience, it gets amplified with mobile,” said Jack Philbin, president/CEO of Vibes Media, Chicago.

“We think that it’s a delicate balance because if you don’t do it right, it can work against you,” he said. “Be careful, be wise but be quick.”

The Mobile Marketing Summit: Holiday Focus 2012 conference was a Mobile Marketer event.

Mobile research
The session presented recent research from Vibes Media.

For instance, 82 percent of smartphone owners surveyed in the study said that they shopped in-store with their mobile device, showing the opportunities available to marketers to target shoppers with seasonal deals. Sixty-five percent of feature phone users shop with their device.

To compare, 55 percent of the smartphone owners said that their smartphone is at arms reach while they were sleeping. Twenty-nine percent of feature phone users have their device nearby while sleeping.

While in-store, 33 percent of smartphone owners comparison shopped on a competitor’s mobile site.

Thirty-one percent looked up product information and 27 percent of users scanned a QR code. Seventeen percent of respondents used the company’s app in-store.

Additionally, mobile shoppers are impulse buyers. Fourteen percent of the smartphone owners surveyed made a purchase that they had not planned to on mobile.

When it comes to showroomers post in-store are not necessarily detrimental to retailers. The study found that 29 percent of showroomers later purchased a product from the company’s site after leaving the store. Twenty-five percent of showroomers later bought something from the store’s competitor site.

Even if consumers are comparison shopping while in-store, they are getting the information that they want and puts the consumer in control.

Showroomers also tend to be highly interested in using their device in new, innovative ways. For example, a whopping 70 percent of showroomers surveyed in Vibes’ study said that they would use near-field communication to buy something.

Holiday tips
Mr. Philbin also offered three ideas for implementing a holiday mobile strategy.

One way that retailers can incorporate mobile this year is to offer gift ideas via a door buster mobile coupon booklet. With consumers both researching and buying products more on their mobile devices, giving shoppers recommendations can be effective for driving online and in-store sales.

Additionally, promoting Black Friday initiatives can help build buzz around a time-sensitive sale. For example, a mobile promotion that lets users jump a waiting line gives users an incentive for interacting with their device.

Finally, a daily deal promotion could be used by retailers to build up sales leading up to the holiday. A 12 days of Christmas campaign, for example, keeps brand awareness high through the critical last-minute holiday shopping days.

Weaving in time, location and interaction lead to successful mobile campaigns, per Mr. Philbin.

Mr. Philbin at the Mobile Marketing Summit

Shop on mobile
The customer journey is made up of four parts – awareness, loyalty, engagement and transaction. Additionally, the path to purchase for mobile includes the pre-purchase, the in-store and post-purchase experience.

In order to gain loyalty, brands need to begin mobile campaigns with careful marketing that is not invasive. As consumers show that they are becoming more comfortable with a brand over time, a brand can earn credibility by pushing out messages such as offers and coupons.

Mr. Philbin used Starbucks as an example of a brand that tries multiple things in mobile, many of which aim to drive downloads of the brand’s app that lets users buy coffee via bar code scanning.

The brand’s mobile app not only lets users pay for products by using their devices but also includes a game aspect that makes it fun for users to rack up loyalty points.

“Mobile is the glue that binds everything together,” Mr. Philbin said.

“As long as you’re experimenting, you’re learning,” he said.

Final Take
Jack Philbin, president/CEO of Vibes Media, Chicago