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PayPal exec: Multichannel shoppers are a challenge in mobile

During the keynote session “Mobile And The Omni-Channel Shopper: Leveraging The Digital Wallet To Enable A Smart And Customized Payment Experience” the PayPal executive spoke about how consumers are shopping through multiple devices. Additionally, the session presented a look at how payments play a role in the mobile shopping journey.

“It’s hard to manage and track the same customer that is going through all these different channels,” said Kent Griffin, senior project manager at PayPal, San Jose, CA.

“People are going across these different channels – it is a real problem to try and understand your users on any one journey across multiple channels,” he said.

“The hard part is figuring out who your customer is across those channels, and as soon as you identify who your consumer is, you [have to] make sure you can give them things that are relevant.”

Mobile multichannel
Although mobile still accounts for a small percentage of online sales, the medium is growing.

Many industries expect 20-25 percent of sales to be driven through mobile devices this holiday season, per Mr. Griffin.

Additionally, tablets are increasingly playing a bigger role and will be an upcoming trend to watch.

Gone are the days when consumers only buy small items on their mobile devices. Nowadays, consumers will buy anything via their handsets if the experience is seamless.

According to Mr. Griffin, 35 percent of tickets purchased are now being bought through mobile devices. Mobile also accounts for up to 46 percent of sales from digital goods.

When it comes to how consumers shop on mobile, the mobile Web is what consumers are primarily relying on.

Brands looking to develop a mobile-optimized presence should consider an HTML5 approach.

Additionally, context is key to understanding how consumers shop. For example, while desktop might be skewed to the middle of the day, mobile phones are being used continuously throughout the day, primarily for impulse buys. Tablets on the other hand are used at home at the end of the day.

Despite the tablet being used primarily at night, the devices tend to rake in larger transactions, showing how tablets are often used for more high-priced items.

According to Mr. Griffin, the No. 1 reason that consumers shop on their smartphones is because they are bored. This means that consumers often have one to two free minutes of time and are making quick, impulse buys, putting it on par with other quick-consumption activities such as reading news or accessing social media.

Pay on mobile
Three things – security, convenience and usability – hold consumers back from shopping via mobile, per Mr. Griffin.

Additionally, brands need to remember that consumers come into a mobile site from a variety of channels, meaning that every aspect needs to be optimized and constructed with a consumer-first approach.

Bricks-and-mortar retailers also have a large opportunity to use mobile to their advantage with consumers comparison shopping and browsing for products while in-store. Mobile bar codes and check-in campaigns are both examples of how retailers can leverage the in-store experience to give users a value for using their mobile devices.

“That channel that you engage with people in, whether it is email or advertising, is going to start defining how it is that they interact with you,” Mr. Griffin said.

“The more engaged we are with payments, the better experiences you can deliver up-front in the shopping journey,” he said.

“The key to this though is making sure that shopping is what is driving payments though and not the other way around.”

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York