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3 factors that deliver better ROI for mobile commerce

By Melinda Krueger

Email is not sexy. But it is the number one or two – depending on the study or demographic – smartphone activity and ecommerce driver.

While your peers and competitors are chasing the latest thing, they are probably neglecting the basic, proven approaches to improving mobile commerce.

Here are three things you should check off your list. They are not sexy and they are not simple, but they will deliver significant ROI.

#1: Mobile responsive dynamic email template. The majority of your emails are read on mobile devices, so they must be legible and inviting.

There is no shortage of articles on how to do this, so let me just say this: it is easier than you think.

Bring in expertise outside of your production team. If you cannot make the entire template responsive, optimizing just the header and footer will deliver better response. Test it and you will see.

A dynamic template enables true 1-1 personalization. It eliminates the need to create and manage multiple versions for audience segments.

You are likely so mired in an elaborate production process that a wholesale change seems impossible. Again, this needs to happen outside of daily production and requires organizational change.

But imagine this: elements are included or excluded based on an individual’s behavior, preferences and purchases.

Business partners approve their content slice, not the entire effort.

Content is driven by what is best for the customer, not the merchant with the most clout.

More nimble and more committed competitors are making this happen and realizing substantial gains in response and conversion.

#2: Recommendation engine. Driving the content for your dynamic template, as well as your Web site and application, is the recommendation engine.

Whether developed internally or by a third party, this marvel must be fed.

Deliver data from as many sources as possible – Web browsing, previous purchases, stated preferences and program participation – and watch it improve over time.

Gone are the days when you could observe behavior and process enough data to optimize your program, much less tailor it for an individual.

My favorite story to illustrate this point is from a sports team apparel manufacturer. It felt our recommendation engine was surely faulty because it was recommending products for teams its customers did not follow. The company discovered that there was another factor governing product choice: color.

Some customers’ product choices had nothing to do with the team, and it was machine learning that revealed this counter-intuitive fact.

You cannot process all the data and channel it for an individual. Buy or build a recommendation engine.

#3: Digital coupons. When you consider that the majority of emails are read on mobile devices, does a coupon that needs to be printed out make any sense?

Enter digital coupons.

Digital coupons cast a positive halo cast on the brands that use them.

According to a study of digital coupon use by Forrester Research analyst Sucharita Mulpuru-Kodali for RetailMeNot:

• 59 percent said digital coupons are likely to influence their purchase decision

• 55 percent report spending more than they had planned when using a digital coupon

• 63 percent said a coupon will influence a purchase decision if they are wavering

• 68 percent feel digital coupons generate loyalty and build brand awareness

A Google study called From Clipping to Clicking reported that 42 percent of consumers say they will leave a store without making a purchase if they have left their coupons at home. These are some powerful indicators of consumer preferences.

If you are still not convinced, look at – or split test – open rates for email messages with “coupon” in the subject line compared to those without.

You may have coupons in your app, but not all of your customers will have your app. Allow them to save a coupon any way they want – print, email, text, digital wallet or loyalty card. Then remind them when it is about to expire.

I HATE THE term “quick wins.” Salespeople love it, clients love it, and there are some to be had.

But the big wins, those that will contribute most to your bottom line, are not quick. These are not simple implementations, but they are easier than you think. And they will deliver, I promise.

Melinda Krueger is Milwaukee, WI-based associate principal for marketing services at Reach her at [email protected]