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E*Trade Financial exec discusses mobile strategy

Financial services giant E*Trade has focused its mobile strategy on the development of mobile applications, which it has promoted via a series of “talking baby” television commercials.

E*Trade Securities LLC recently introduced E*Trade Mobile Pro for  iPad, providing on-the-go access to customers’ brokerage and bank accounts, real-time market news and information and the ability to trade stocks on Apple’s newest device. That complements E*Trades existing applications for Research In Motion’s BlackBerry and Apple’s iPhone and iPod touch (see story).

“E*Trade’s strategy behind launching Mobile Pro and expanding onto new devices and with new features has always been based on one key objective—to serve our customers’ wants and needs,” said Paul Vienick, senior vice president at E*Trade, New York.

“As an online broker, a key segment of our target audience consists of tech-savvy early-adopters who are always on the go,” he said.

“Having a mobile component to support our core online offering simply made sense, and we knew that in the long-run, mobile would be not only a nice-to-have but also a tool customers need in order to manage their busy lives while investing in today’s markets.”

The E*Trade Financial family of companies provides financial services, including online brokerage and related banking products and services to retail investors.

Securities products and services are offered by E*Trade Securities. Bank products and services are offered by E*Trade Bank, a Federal savings bank, Member FDIC, or its subsidiaries.

E*Trade makes mobile a priority
Mr. Vienick said that E*Trade targets investors ranging from active traders—people who trade 10 or more times per month—to long-term investors—people with $250,000 or more in investable assets—as well as people in between.

Available for free via the App Store, E*Trade Mobile Pro for iPad features many of the same interface, security, trading and cash management features available at, letting users:

• View real-time streaming stock and options quotes

• Trade stocks during regular market and extended hours sessions

• View orders, alerts, news, charts, watch-lists and portfolios

• Access a complete view of all E*Trade brokerage and bank accounts

• Make secure transactions backed by the E*Trade Complete Protection Guarantee

• View live streaming CNBC TV for  Power E*Trade customers

Here is a screengrab of the E*Trade iPad application:

E*Trade’s mobile applications are free and downloadable by anyone with a smartphone.

“The strategy is to increase engagement and activity by providing access to accounts, and the markets and news that moves them while customers aren’t at their computers,” Mr. Vienick said. “This has proven effective, as we’ve seen mobile activity peak during early morning and evening hours.

“We don’t disclose exact numbers, but we’ve seen downloads, activity and transactions increase consistently since launching Mobile Pro in 2008,” he said. 

The company has used mass-market media to promote its mobile applications.

Mobile marketing got another major boost in January when many Super Bowl advertisements drove viewers to either text, download an application or visit a mobile Web site as a call to action, including an E*Trade commercial (see story).

While E*Trade does not currently have an Android application, the company is closely monitoring the adoption of Google’s operating system.

“We are working toward supporting Android, and we always carefully monitor and consider the new opportunities and devices that come to market in the ever-evolving mobile space,” Mr. Vienick said.

“The challenge is determining what new devices and platforms will be sustainable and serve our customers effectively for the long-run,” he said. “In the end, if there is a prevailing customer demand and we can build a case around supporting a new device or platform, we’ll invest in it.”

Final take
Dan Butcher, Mobile Commerce Daily