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So You’ve Got a Mobile Commerce Website, Now What?

May 2, 2011

Many retailers have launched a mobile strategy starting with a mobile optimized website, and for many, the big question is “Now What?”.  That is the exact question Craig Shields, VP of eCommerce at Jewlery Television (JTV) and I answered during our live webinar on Thursday, entitled “So You’ve Got a Mobile Commerce Site, Now What?”.  I’ve provided a recap of the main points we discussed along with the slides from the session below.

Multichannel Commerce Has Evolved, and Mobile is Leading the Way
One of the main points we discussed is how multichannel has evolved beyond a series of “channels” and into a variety of digital touch points that consumers interact with, including traditional ecommerce sites, smartphones, tablets, mobile point of sale, social networks and others. Consumers are making decisions non-linearly, interacting with a variety of these digital touch points along the way.  Consequently, it’s important brands ensure a consistent, engaging experience across these touchpoints.  Mobile is playing a leading role in this new age of multichannel commerce.
Retailers Have Focused on the Mobile Web
While many retailers still have not launched a mobile commerce strategy (about 26% according a recent Forrester study), many others have at least started to plan.  Regardless, whether retailers have already implemented a mobile strategy or are starting to plan a strategy, the starting point is usually the mobile web, mainly because most retailers already have a traditional ecommerce website and it makes sense to optimize the site to reach the broadest set of consumers on mobile devices. In the past, we’ve discussed why mobile commerce starts with the mobile web.
Now What?  7 Ideas to Evolve Your Mobile Commerce Strategy 
Given that mobile is leading the way in the multichannel, multi-touchpoint world and the mobile web is typically the starting point, the question is: where do retailers go from here?
Craig and I shared 7 ideas retailers could use to address this exact question:
1.  Know what to measure.  Start measuring how your mobile website is performing, if you’re not doing so already.  Make sure you also plan out your measurement strategy in advance to track key performance indicators (KPIs) across other “sub-channels” of mobile you may pursue, such as native apps.  This will allow you to spot opportuntiies and prioritize resources.  Key mobile KPIs JTV measures are: sales, unique visitors, average order value, converstion rate, and time on site.  They also track KPIs unique to native apps, such as cumulative installs and active installs.
2. Continue to invest in the mobile web.  You’ve already got a mobile website, and should continue to invest in it, as its going to be the most important part of your mobile strategy.  Make sure your site has “core” functionality expected in every mobile website, as well as “enhanced” functionality that your consumers are looking for. JTV introduced product reviews after the initial launch of their mobile website, and a saw a 35% increase in conversion rate– a pretty significant lift.
3. Enrich the mobile experience: go native.  Mobile devices put a lot of funtionality into the hands of consumers– functionality that can greatly enrich the shopping experience.  Retailers should seek to exploit this functionality by tapping the native capabilities of the device.  The primary way of getting there today is by mobile native apps, but hybrid apps are increasingly becoming an option.  JTV offers a richer shopping experience on their native app than they can on their mobile website, including live broadcast video, a ring sizer, and “Gemopedia”, an educational guide on gemstones for consumers.
4.  Engage mobile consumers. It’s important not to take a “build it and they will come” approach, but rather view mobile as its own true channel, utilizing mobile-specific features to engage mobile users to drive mobile adoption, usage and ultimately sales.  We shared several examples of how to do this, including JTV’s use of mobile alerts and campaigns, on-air ads and promotion through Get JTV Your Way.
5.  Look beyond the smartphone: tablets. Tablets are increasingly becoming adopted by consumers and should be considered a key part of evolving a mobile commerce strategy.  JTV has seen a large amount of traffic from the iPad, and has introduced features that would appeal to iPad consumers, and has also placed a tablet specific mobile site and iPad native app as part of their mobile roadmap.
6. Create a richer in-store experience.  Mobile bridges the gap between the physical world and online, serving as a way for users t interact with the brand while physically in the store.  Consumers love in-store technology to help with information and overall experience– from barcode scanning for price comparing and reasearch purposes to gift cards and loyalty rewards and mobile payments. We discussed a variety of mobile technologies that are emerging in-store, including QR codes, mobile point of sale (mPOS), NFC-enabled mobile payments, iPad clienteling, tablet kiosks, augmented reality and location based services.
7. Think outside the (set top) box: internet TV.
With the proliferation and consumer adoption of connected TV devices, including internet TV as part of multichannel strategy makes sense, particularly as internet TV increasingly are designed to interact with other devices such as smartphones and tablets, rather than being perceived as standalone devices like laptops.  For JTV, internet TV presents a unique opportunity to interact with their consumers, offering an opportunity to extend shopping directly into the living room.  They’ve created a Roku channel, and are considering AppleTV and GoogleTV channels, including possible companion apps and building in ecommerce functionality.
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