Thursday, August 27, 2015

How Do Mobile Experts Use Mobility and What Does it Mean for Retailers?


One hundred percent of mobile experts in our recent survey of 108 mobile experts purchase products online.  Ninety percent have purchased products and services using mobile devices, but only 13% use mobile devices exclusively for purchasing products. Forty-five percent typically use only desktops/laptops, and 40% use both equally.  These are some of the findings from the survey we conducted in May of 2015.

How often do mobile experts purchase products and services using their mobile devices?  Only 1% purchase products using mobile devices daily, 30% weekly, 43% monthly and 20% once every three months.

Wow!  I am a one-percenter!!!  I use my Starbuck's app and Apple Pay often multiple times in a day.

In another recent survey of 5,000 people in North America that I was involved in titled Cognizant's 2015 Shopper's Survey, we found 73% still prefer using desktops/laptops for online purchases. This does not mean mobile devices were not used in the path-to-purchase journey, rather desktops/laptops are often preferred for payments.

Our findings also reveal a typical path-to-purchase journey involves multiple platforms and devices. Often smartphones are used for quick searches and discovery, tablets are used for in-depth immersive product research, and desktops/laptops for purchases.  People even change their device preferences depending on the time of day.  Mobile devices are popular in the morning, at lunch and in the late afternoon.  Desktops and laptops are popular during business hours, while tablets are popular in the early to late evenings.  This points to the popularity of living room and in-bed shopping.  When asked where they are located when making online purchases they answered:
  • 46% in the living room
  • 36% at work
  • 29% in the bedroom
  • 24% in the TV room
  • 20% in coffee shops or restaurants
The use of multiple devices and platforms at different times of the day makes it challenging for online retailers and marketers to track consumer interests.  When asked the time of day when they make most of their online purchases, mobile experts listed the times in the following order by popularity:
  1. Early morning
  2. Mid-morning/Early afternoon
  3. Noon
  4. Late night
Our findings reveal that the retail strategies of yesteryear are insufficient for future success.  Today those involved in mobile commerce have many new challenges.  Mobile users follow different path-to-purchase journeys across multiple devices, times and locations.  These journeys look different for different demographics, categories of products and products with different price points as well. Context is mandatory today to understand how to personalize a digital experience.  Recommending places to eat in San Francisco based on my past preferences, when I am in Boston isn't useful.

Collecting greater quantities of data with users' permission in order to provide a contextually relevant and personalized experience is a hurdle retailers must overcome.  I have some thoughts.  Stay tuned for my new report, "Cutting Through Chaos in the Age of "Mobile Me."

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Kevin Benedict
Writer, Speaker, Senior Analyst
The Center for the Future of Work, Cognizant
View my profile on LinkedIn
Read more at Future of Work
Learn about mobile strategies at MobileEnterpriseStrategies.com
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
Subscribe to Kevin'sYouTube Channel
Join the Linkedin Group Strategic Enterprise Mobility
Join the Google+ Community Mobile Enterprise Strategies

***Full Disclosure: These are my personal opinions. No company is silly enough to claim them. I am a mobility and digital transformation analyst, consultant and writer. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Mobile Commerce Strategies - Contextually Relevant Opportunities, Moments and Environments

In the early 1990s major retailers began investing in data analytics to better manage their stores and warehouses by analyzing individual store sales.  This insight gave them a perspective on the needs of the local market.

Retailers soon advanced in their use of analytics and added external factors for consideration and planning like demographics, weather, geography, local events and competitor's promotions and campaigns.

When customer loyalty programs tied to POS (point of sale) systems were implemented, retailers were able to start understanding individual customers through their transaction histories - at least what individuals bought from their stores.  The limitation, however, was this data was known and analyzed post-sales. There were no mechanisms in place to alert retailers to help customers during their path-to-purchase journeys.

Mobile computing technologies and wireless internet access introduced the age of mobile commerce. Mobile commerce enables retailers unprecedented capabilities to collect and analyze data from a wide array of sensors embedded in mobile devices.  The challenge then shifted from how to collect data, to how to get the user's permission and approval to collect and use data.  This is not always easy.

When asked in surveys, customers voice opposition to retailer's collecting data on them.  This, however, does not align with other survey results that show customers value a personalized digital experience.  You cannot personalize a digital experience based on data without data.  This dichotomy must be recognized by retailers and incorporated into their customer education plans and strategies.

Personalized digital experiences show respect and professionalism to customers.  Treating
individuals as if they belong to one homogeneous market is a recipe for failure.  It reflects an attitude that getting to know you is not worth the time or investment.  As more commerce moves from face-to-face interactions to mobile commerce, service and support can easily be lost in the bits and bytes. Retailers that try to offer mobile commerce without relevant personalization are short sighted and will ultimately fail.

Winners in mobile commerce will implement Code Halos (the data available about every person, object and organization) business strategies to find business meaning in data and to provide beautiful customer experiences.  They will also seek to triangulate three sources of data:
  1. Digital data from online and mobile activities
  2. Physical data from sensors and the IoT (internet of things, wearables, telematics, etc.)
  3. Customer loyalty and rewards programs data
Mobile commerce winners will seek contextually relevant opportunities, moments and environments (CROME) that can trigger personalized content at exactly the right time.  Alerting me to available food options in a city I left yesterday is not useful.  I need food options in the city I am in now. Context is time and location sensitive.

The competitive field in mobile commerce tomorrow will be around personalization, context and real-time operational tempos.  Can your legacy IT environment be upgraded to compete in the world of tomorrow?

Stay tuned for a major report I am writing on this subject to be published soon.

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Kevin Benedict
Writer, Speaker, Senior Analyst
The Center for the Future of Work, Cognizant
View my profile on LinkedIn
Read more at Future of Work
Learn about mobile strategies at MobileEnterpriseStrategies.com
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
Subscribe to Kevin'sYouTube Channel
Join the Linkedin Group Strategic Enterprise Mobility
Join the Google+ Community Mobile Enterprise Strategies

***Full Disclosure: These are my personal opinions. No company is silly enough to claim them. I am a mobility and digital transformation analyst, consultant and writer. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Retail Evolution and Mobility

Farmers once sold their harvest bounty directly to their customers from beneath the branches of their fruit trees.  Customers had a direct face-to-face relationship with the farmer and could express their preferences and demonstrate their buying patterns to the farmer.  Over time farmers developed means to preserve and package their products, and to sell them through retail stores with large customer bases.  Sales expanded, but the personal relationship between the farmers and their customers, and an intimate understanding of each of their customers’ preferences was lost behind the retail shelves of big box stores.

Over time retail stores seeking market expansion and competitive differentiators developed mobile commerce apps that enabled them to sell products across a much wider geographic area, and to larger markets at any time of the day or night. This expanded sales potential, but in the process disconnected customers from the retailer’s physical store and location.

Mass marketing to mass audiences depersonalized the shopping experience.  It reduced the farmer’s products to mere commodities, and retail stores to logistic, warehouse and delivery centers.  It shifted competitive differentiators from customer service, retail locations, store layouts, local product selections and building designs to the designs of mobile commerce apps and websites, their performance and ease of navigation.  In addition, shipping costs and post-sales return policies moved from afterthoughts in fine print, to major competitive differentiators. Few were satisfied with these developments.  Customer service, brand loyalty and the consumer’s retail experience suffered.

Today, however, technologies and business strategies are converging again to offer hope these relationships can be restored, and the quality of the consumer’s mobile commerce experience improved.  The development of MyX (My Experience) personalization strategies and technologies are promising highly personalized digital experiences for consumers, and competitive advantages for businesses that can support them.

Creating highly personalized MyX mobile commerce apps for thousands and even millions of consumers requires business process re-engineering, new IT strategies, technologies, intelligent process automation and upgraded legacy systems and real-time personalized experiences. The competitive battlefields of retail are moving fast and demand urgent action today.

As consumers shift more of their work and personal time to mobile devices, we see rapid growth in both mobile marketing investments and the numbers of mobile commerce transactions.  Today 34 percent of global e-commerce transactions are mobile, even though 73 percent of survey participants continue to use desktop/laptops for most of their online shopping activities.  Mobile shoppers (those that shop online regularly using a smartphone or tablet) shop online more frequently than computer shoppers (those mostly using computers for online shopping activities), and as shoppers continue to migrate to mobile commerce these transaction numbers will see continuing growth.  The bottom line, mobile commerce is growing fast across all demographics and represents the future of retailing. Developing a strategy for personalizing users' experience is the key component.

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Kevin Benedict
Writer, Speaker, Senior Analyst
The Center for the Future of Work, Cognizant
View my profile on LinkedIn
Read more at Future of Work
Learn about mobile strategies at MobileEnterpriseStrategies.com
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
Subscribe to Kevin'sYouTube Channel
Join the Linkedin Group Strategic Enterprise Mobility
Join the Google+ Community Mobile Enterprise Strategies

***Full Disclosure: These are my personal opinions. No company is silly enough to claim them. I am a mobility and digital transformation analyst, consultant and writer. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.