Ready to Meet Your Mobile Customers’ Expectations?
Are you and your customers on the same page about mobile commerce? Not sure what they want and what they expect? If so, a new report issued by the Customer Experience Foundation suggests you’re far from alone.
Consumers in the U.S. want mobile shopping services, and they want them now: a sentiment ratified by six separate indicators within the Customer Experience Foundation survey. They want them to be free—a full 90 percent of respondents state they will not pay for premium services. They demand mobile marketing efforts they deem “appropriate”—i.e., non-invasive—and they do not want businesses to exploit their personal data inappropriately. They want on-the-go comparison shopping tools. And they respond favorably to SMS-based marketing, so much so that text campaigns now yield much higher response rates than conventional direct mail, email campaigns or cold calling.
Here’s the catch: Subscribers may say they want m-commerce services, but their behaviors suggest otherwise. Among the most common smartphone activities cited by the Customer Experience Foundation, mobile shopping doesn’t even crack the top 10. (It ranks 11th.) Making calls and texting top the list, followed by everyday uses like snapping photos, mobile social networking, gaming, banking, and checking the weather forecast. Even when subscribers do shop on their phones, they’re purchasing premium applications and ringtones—at least for now, contactless payments, location-targeted daily deals, and other more advanced facets of the larger m-commerce opportunity remain off the consumer radar.
The dichotomy between what consumers say they want from m-commerce and what they’re actually doing on their smartphones no doubt explains much of the apprehension and doubt gripping businesses looking to roll out mobile services. Companies surveyed by the Customer Experience Foundation express concern over how to develop m-commerce business cases and how to deliver on consumer expectations—few have hatched plans to tightly integrate mobile efforts with their existing services, and those looking to roll out mobile initiatives over the next year are all over the map, with investments ranging from mobile-optimized websites to branded apps to text marketing to QR barcodes. It’s easy to understand the confusion—there are so many viable approaches available to companies looking to go mobile, and relatively few proven, real-world formulas to follow.
In mid-September, Google officially turned on its much-anticipated Google Wallet contactless payment platform, enabling consumers to make purchases by tapping their Android Nexus S smartphones at MasterCard PayPass-enabled merchant terminals across New York City and San Francisco. In addition to payments, Google Wallet allows consumers to store coupons, loyalty cards, and gift cards within their phones—when users tap to pay, the device automatically redeems offers and earns loyalty points. Google Wallet isn’t the first mobile commerce service, and it certainly won’t be the last, but it’s the new benchmark, the one that ties together so much of what the platform promises and makes it real. Consumers finally have access to the services they say they want—and small businesses finally have an actionable template to show them how to introduce those services and take the next step.
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