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Top 5 mobile commerce trends

The mobile commerce space has changed over the years. However, marketers are gradually incorporating traditional and emerging mediums to drive engagement and sales.

“There is no doubt that from devices, to trials, to full-blown launches, mobile payments are accelerating and starting to look like they will become a real business,” said Drew Sievers, CEO of mFoundry, San Francisco.

“Even more impressive are the numbers around mobile commerce, where someone purchases a digital or remote item through their mobile phone,” he said.

“The best marketers are using the mobile phone to acquire, retain and increase share of wallet from their customers. As with mobile banking, simply replicating the online experience isn’t enough, and marketers who mimic online will see lower rates of adoption and success.”

Near field communication is still rather new, but the technology will grow even further in the coming years.

NFC lets consumers use their mobile devices to interact with almost any real-world object such as posters, clothes and shop windows.

Currently, Google Wallet and Isis lead the NFC race.

However, as adoption continues to grow, more companies will jump on board.

NFC has the potential to be so much more than it is now.

Consumers are increasingly using their mobile devices to make purchases – both large and small.

Therefore, giving them an option to pay for goods and services through mobile will be crucial – especially for retailers.

“As more phones hit the market with NFC support, you can expect further growth and acceleration in the mobile payments industry,” Mr. Sievers said.

“While it will still be a small percentage of traditional purchases, the growth should be impressive,” he said.

Location-based mobile advertising
Many retailers such as Target, JCPenney and Macy’s continually turn to mobile advertising to drive in-store traffic, as well as help increase sales.

Mobile advertising is a great way for companies to reach a wide audience.

In past months, marketers have added location to the mix to better target consumers.

For example, Victoria’s Secret and Best Buy have been adding location to their mobile advertising strategies to help consumers find the nearest physical location.

Many consumers are still wary of purchasing items through their mobile devices.

Therefore using mobile advertising to drive foot traffic is a smart move.

“Marketers understand that this new shopper is digitally savvy and is interested in getting the best offers,” said Cyriac Roeding, CEO of shopkick.

“Retailers now have the ability to reach consumers all the time, whether they browse new items within the application while at home sitting on their couch, to the time they come into the store to earn walk-in rewards and check-out offers in person.

“Mobile will soon be the No. 1 marketing medium for physical retailers and is the key to their future success.”

SMS is one of the simplest and most effective ways that marketers can increase revenue.

Firstly, the medium is a great way for companies to build their databases. From there, they can send out timely SMS messages that inform consumers of upcoming sales and other mobile exclusives.

Companies such as Macy’s, Target, Gap and Victoria’s Secret have all used SMS effectively.

For example, whenever Macy’s has an upcoming sale it sends out an SMS message to its opted-in database to inform them about it.

Additionally, Gap recently partnered with Visa to offer cardmembers mobile discounts when they opt-in to its service.

Incentives are a great way to engage consumers and including them in a call-to-action or within a text message may prove to be effective.

QR codes
There is an ongoing debate with QR codes.

Marketers either completely love them or completely hate them.

However, companies such as Express, Boston Market, Starbucks, Walmart and McDonald’s have implanted mobile bar codes into their strategies.

Retailer Express continuously places QR codes on its direct mail to let consumers shop featured looks.

Restaurant chain Boston Market drove consumers to its locations via a campaign that incorporates QR codes and enticed users to scan them by offering prizes.

McDonald’s recently put QR codes on its packaging as part of an ongoing effort to help customers lead a nutritious life and make informed choices.

The fast food giant introduced the new nutrition mobile bar code on packaging at its Olympic venue restaurants.

When used correctly, QR codes can be very valuable to a marketer’s strategy.

By linking the mobile bar codes to an incentive, companies entice consumers to scan them and connect with them on a deeper level.

Social media
Mobile and social inherently go hand-in-hand.

When married together, the result is incomparable.

Recently, with Instagram and Pinterest entering the space, marketers, brands and retailers are able to drive purchase intent, while starting a dialogue with new and existing customers.

Additionally, marketers are increasingly adding social into their mobile apps, sites, SMS campaigns and other mobile efforts.

“We are seeing a major shift among brands as they recognize the need to deliver distinct experiences across all mobile channels,” said Carin Van Vuuren, chief marketing officer at Usablenet.

“It’s abundantly clear that consumers do not want to browse a mini version of the desktop website from their phones,” she said. “Instead, customers expect unique experiences in mobile that take into account what they are trying to do in the moment and at that particular stage of their journey.

“Further, mobile is the channel of choice for social, forcing minimum requirements on mobile now to include deep social integration to enhance the mobile experience and enable users to share favorite products and purchases with their networks as part of their shopping experience.”

Final Take
Rimma Kats is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York