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Mobile Commerce Creates New Markets

2009 September 20

Mobile commerce is the perfect medium for interacting with consumers in short, bite-sized chunks. When the impulse strikes, consumers can jump in and purchase immediately.

Mobile commerce is creating new markets with existing markets. By this I mean, mobile commerce is taking time that was formerly lost and enabling commercial opportunities that didn’t exist before. This reclaimed time enables new sales to an existing customer base that in many cases wouldn’t have happened.

This new opportunity is important in many industries since their potential market is nearly completely saturated. Ecommerce offered a similar sea-change because it allowed consumers to shop without physically visiting a brick-and-mortar store. Merchants could offer their products to a larger market and consumers were freed up to shop at new times — like when they’re at work, or late at night. Ecommerce also changed the retail experience because consumers were more informed and in many cases more focused.

Mobile is opening up all the little, boredom filled chunks of our day with the opportunity to interact with brands. Sitting at a stoplight is my favorite example, but there are others: waiting at the doctor’s office, sitting in the conference room with a minute or so before others arrive, the list goes on. These little moments are almost forgettable, but they add up.

Mobile commerce is the perfect medium for interacting with consumers in short, bite-sized chunks. When the impulse strikes, consumers can jump in and purchase immediately.

Not surprisingly, Pizza delivery companies are on the leading edge of this movement. The CEO of Domino’s Pizza called mobile growth “astounding” in an interview this month. Pizza Hut also has had success with mobile technology. Consumers can quickly place an order when they’re thinking about it on the way home from work. In the past they might forget, or change their minds before they get home (or make the phone call and get placed on hold).

Other Quick Service Restaurants like Burger King and McDonald’s are also leveraging mobile. Other retailers like HSN and AutoNation are blazing paths in other industries.

Aberdeen Group recently validated this theory in the context of Mobile Marketing. They found that leading mobile marketers were 1.6 times more satisfied with their mobile ROI than with traditional media and that 62% of companies are increasing their budgets for mobile, despite an environment of overall budget cuts.

My take is that mobile marketing is but one tactical tool. Companies should look to make the sale with consumers not just communicate their brand. Increasingly, this means providing a unique, succinct, and transactional experience.

“Getting mobile marketing right is a great challenge,” says Jeff Zabin, Research Fellow at Aberdeen Group, “It’s also an opportunity with enormous upside in terms of driving customer acquisition, retention and profitability on an ongoing basis.”

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