Simply put, mobile automation uses system integration to deliver more powerful SMS conversations. Mobile marketing automation (MMA) is when a a system takes your marketing SMS information (databases, campaigns, etc.) and helps you siphon the right message to the right person. When your business is ready to take your mobile marketing to the next step, mobile automation helps ease the transition in addition to boosting effective engagement with “sense and respond” technology.
Where is Mobile Automation Used Today?
Mobile automation gives your company the ability to deliver higher-impact messages to your contact database. This allows businesses to play with a host of options to diversify their mobile marketing portfolio. Most notably, automation helps businesses build a larger and more engaged customer database. Nearly 86% of early adopting app publishers reported success in using MMA, citing significant increases in both engagement and retention. Not only are you getting more people, but more of the right people are getting your marketing SMS messages and they are more effective. You want to turn curious consumers into your customers.
Seamless interactions are crucial for properly conducting your mobile marketing. To make sure that your customer database is receiving the right message at the right time, a seamless integration is key. Automation is a great way to link your mobile application, app push notifications, mobile website, and your SMS campaigns. Use automation in your mobile marketing to gather information about your customer’s habits so that the most effective messages are sent to that customer.
Where Mobile Automation is Going in 2016
Remember the 3 L’s of real estate? Location, specifically geo-targeting, is taking off in all aspects of mobile marketing for 2016. For mobile automation, this means that your business can gain the ability to seek out a customer in your database, access their location, and send out the best message to drive them to make a purchase.
Perhaps you are a small, local tax preparation firm in a strip mall with other businesses. When tax time comes around, an automated SMS message will be sent to your customer database in the strip mall to remind them to stop by and get their taxes done.
The use of mobile automation will only be getting bigger. Businesses are finding an increasing number of uses to enact a mobile automation system. Everything from HR management to mobile commerce has a place for incorporating automation into the SMS messaging strategy. The big takeaways are:
Using mobile automation is an effective way to grow and maintain your customer database. Automation helps to get the best message to the right people.
Mobile automation is helpful for a variety of needs and industries. It has great integration potential and crosses over many mobile platforms.
You, the savvy mobile marketer, already know that mobile commerce is booming. Having a comprehensive plan for Mcommerce is crucial for staying on top in 2016. An easy solution for increasing both store traffic and overall sales is the use of mobile coupons.
Mobile coupons are effectiveand, according to Mobile Commerce Daily, 96% of mobile users will search for digital coupons – a 26% increase from 2014. By the end of this year, 121.3 million U.S adults will redeem a digital coupon with 83.1 million doing so via smartphones (EMarketer). The expert opinions are in and here is what is in-store for mobile coupons in 2016.
Location, Location, Location
Location based mobile marketing, or SMS geofencing, is having a big moment, and it is only going to get bigger in 2016. Location SMS marketing works in 2 parts:
First, there is the use of it in physical locations where the customers are using it – to understand their purchasing personas. Customers can allow businesses to have access to their locations. By tracking customer movement, companies can get an idea of the persona of their customer base. For example, if you are a new sporting good company and you notice that customers in your area frequent the local soccer field, you can increase your in-store traffic by offering mobile coupons on your soccer equipment.
The second use of location based SMS marketing is SMS geofencing. SMS geofencing is when customers not only allow companies to know their locations, companies also have the ability to send location-specific SMS messages. When customers are in range of your business, triggered messages will be sent out with deals and coupons to lure customers in. Locations can be as broad as a U.S region or as narrow as being in a physical store. By targeting customers in specified locations, businesses can make the most of their mobile marketing – especially when it comes to mobile coupons.
Cross Platform Integration
Multi-platform integration is a large essential in every digital marketing arsenal. Going from mobile app, to SMS notifications, to in-store or online purchasing will soon be a seamless experience. Mobile coupons will be no different. Many apps, such as Sephora’s, have an all-in-one mobile shopping experience. Not only can you shop from the app, it also tracks your beauty rewards, provides beauty tips, and (of course) sends you digital coupons for your next purchase. In 2016, this will become far more common place as more stores opt for the all-in-1 integration model.
Big Takeaways for Mobile Coupons in 2016
No need for the crystal ball, we have seen the future for retail and mobile commerce: SMS coupons are on top.
It is estimated that mobile coupon usage will exceed 1 billion users by 2019 (Juniper Research). This means that to implement mobile coupons, you must have a thoughtful mobile strategy. To summarize, the two big takeaways are:
1. Allow an option for customers to opt-in to your location tracking services to effectively target the customers you need. Digital marketing can be costly, so make sure that you are sending your mobile coupons to the right consumers in the right places.
2. Make sure that your digital integration includes mobile coupons, and that they are seamlessly integrated. Cohesiveness is key if you want your mobile coupons to increase customer traffic.
Mobile coupons are not only a great way to tie multiple digital platforms together but, they help to build customer relations. Motivate your customers by providing incentive to their #1 shopping companion: their smartphones.
2016 is almost upon us and that means it is time to look forward to a new year of mobile marketing trends – from SMS solutions and apps to mobile commerce and beyond.
“Mobile and tablet commerce will hit $142 billion in the U.S. and $92 billion in the European Union, representing 38 percent and 32 percent of online transactions, respectively” (Forrester Research).
Mobile commerce is booming and it is never too early to start developing your mobile marketing plan – especially if you have online sales. We’re in the home stretch of 2015, so it’s the time of year when many CMOs and Marketing Directors start looking into the mobile marketing trends for the new year. We’ve done some of the leg work for you already, and here’s a closer look at the mobile commerce side of the story…
Creative Mobile Marketing Content
Mobile marketing is predicted to be a huge part of digital marketing in 2016, according to Forbes. With the increased competition in the mobile marketing landscape, it’s important to set yourself apart from your competitors with unique mobile content. Make the most out of your campaigns by thinking beyond the user story or path you already know – engage with personalized stories and creative drivers.
Turn a SMS dialog campaign into a mystery as DoSomething.org did this year. Their partnership with 3M has supported the growth of the organization while creating a viral social good story. When the consumer feels good about your story, what you’re doing in the world, or how they are connected to it, it’s easier to engage on a mobile device and make a purchase (or donation).
Mobile Coupons Are King
A SMS coupon campaign continues to be a top way of offering incentives to your customers. While digital wallets are still finding their way in the world, mobile coupons are steadily growing in adoption. “By 2016, 44.5% of marketers are expected to use mobile coupons and 40% of U.S. smartphone users are predicted to redeem mobile coupons” (Marketing Science Institute). Investing into a well thought out SMS coupon campaign is not only on trend for 2016 but, a smart move in diversifying your mobile marketing mix.
Mobile Commerce Crosses Devices and Spaces
Mobile is predicted to influence spending in brick-and-mortar retailers by $1 trillion. Imagine the foot traffic your store could have by implementing a mobile marketing solution that tracks consumers. A prediction from Juniper Research is that mobile coupon usage will exceed 1 billion users by the year 2019. Even more interesting than the user adoption of mobile coupons is the purchasing path consumers take nowadays. It isn’t as simple as it once appeared to be.
The savviest companies are tracking the consumer journey from in-store to mobile to desktop – across all devices and spaces. Mobile commerce does not stand alone anymore, it is a cross-device and cross-space (physical /digital) experience. “Google finds that companies that use data gathered from tracking consumers across multiple devices experience 16 percent more search ad conversions” (Internet Retailer). These companies are building in-house digital marketing teams to track the purchase path and optimize marketing performance, thus developing a cross-device and cross-space journey map.
Takeaways on Mobile Commerce for 2016:
Tell a great story in all of your mobile marketing
Retailers are Connecting Mobile Shopping with the In-Store Experience
When you create a unified shopping experience, shoppers will take note and show their loyalty with their hard earned dollars.
Online shopping is more convenient for many shoppers. Many retailers have begun treating their brick and mortar stores as a showroom more than a retail outlet – making the assumption that shoppers are coming in to see and touch products, but then purchase online.
An office supply retailer has 2 goals: increasing revenues overall (both online and in-store) and improving upon the up-sell process so that shoppers will purchase more.
We address the first goal of increasing revenue by providing a mobile shopping assistant in the form a a mobile website. Shoppers reportedly have a difficult time deciding between different kinds of computers, printers, and other technology items. It can be difficult to compare these items while in store, so we created a product comparison tool where the shopper can choose which items he or she wants to compare and it provides details about each category. If there is any confusion, the shopper can text in to the SMS program to get answers from a live customer support person.
The second goal is to improve the product up-sell process. Other retailers find that shoppers who choose to buy online and pick-up in store spend nearly twice as much as those who have online orders delivered directly to their homes. This is likely due to a few different factors – ease of purchase, ability to price compare with other retailers, and comfort of the third wall between them and the store. To increase up-sell purchases, we added digital / mobile coupons into the purchase path. As a shopper is looking at an item, the complementary products appear just before the “Add to Cart” button with a “Package it” button. Packaging up multiple products for a discounted price – such as a printer with ink and a ream of paper.
The mobile website with the product comparisons helped shoppers to make educated decisions while in-store and drove them to purchase sooner than before. This mobile shopping tool was supported by the customer service via SMS, which also helped the retailer with creating a positive shopping experience. And the packaging of products matched up with mobile coupons / digital coupons made checkout faster for the shopper, which increased the up-sell revenue and improved the overall process.
Shopping Experiences, whether in-store, at home, or on-the-go, can be the make or break point for a retailer. Shoppers are savvy – searching for the best deals and opportunities – but they also value customer service and the overall experience. Creating a unified shopping experience, no matter what the device or location can be the key to getting that next sale.
Using Augmented Reality Technology to Create the Virtual Dressing Room
Technology advances blow my mind sometimes. In just 4 years, we’ve seen leaps and bounds in the developments of the technology on our mobile devices alone. The virtual dressing room concept that I once fantasized about after seeing the movie Clueless is not as far away as it once seemed. And the excitement around this idea continues to grow. A recent survey from Accenture entitled Life of the Digital Edge: How Augmented Reality Can Enhance Customer Experience and Drive Growth found that virtual dressing rooms were rated among highest use for Augmented Reality for potential retail conversions.
What augmented reality use case would increase your likelihood
of purchasing the product?
Virtual furniture app: 86%
Virtual dressing room: 88%
Color changing app: 73%
Catalog app: 65%
Shopping app: 75%
Shoe sampler app: 87%
Virtual vehicle manual: 75%
Gamification app: 61%
Source: Accenture 2014 Augmented Reality Survey
“Augmented reality is an emerging technology that superimposes computer-generated images and content onto real-world environments, thereby enhancing a user’s perception of reality by combining physical and virtual elements.” (source: Accenture)
While this is a really exciting prospect, nearly 60% of survey respondents reported that they haven’t actually seen or used an Augmented Reality technology before. As companies continue to grow recognition and adoption among consumers, there are several other mobile tools surfacing with similar concepts that making the retail shopping experience easier for everyone.
Exciting Mobile Concepts
1. Mix Me. This mobile app allows users to mix and match clothes, organize their wardrobes, as well as make purchases. Developed by German shop Infobest, this app let’s the user take photos from multiple angles to capture the image of themselves and then generates a 3D model of the person.
2. Voonik.com. This Bangalore based website recommends clothes to based on a preferred style, clothing tastes and body type. When a customer signs up she takes a short visual quiz that reveals information about her body type and style preferences. Then instant recommendations are sent from stylists on what will suit her, how to wear the clothes, and what to pair them with. Naturally, it is available as a mobile app as well.
3.Fits.Me. This is a tool for online shopping. Capturing shopper dimensions and fit preferences adds vital real-time insights that enable the retailer or brand to curate and personalize every shopper’s experience at every touchpoint. Brands invite customers to enter their sizes, and it create an avatar that tries on clothes to find the best fit – which reduces returns and increases customer satisfaction with e-commerce. (Case Study)
4. TrialKart. Through the mobile app, users can choose any listed apparel and click on the ‘Try’ option. Using either an image taken by the phone’s camera on the spot or from an existing photo in the app’s gallery, users can visualize themselves in the outfit. It allows the ability to pinch, zoom, and orient the apparel so that it is correctly placed on the picture. Social sharing of the final image helps the users gather opinions, and the brands to get viral marketing.
Takeaways about Virtual Dressing Rooms and Mobile Retail
Trying on clothes to find the right style and fit is fun for fashionistas, but for many of us it is a chore. Leveraging virtual dressing rooms using mobile tools – from mobile apps to mobile websites – can reduce stress. Customers feel satisfied faster, develop brand loyalty and will stick with the retailers providing the best tools.
Kids and parents are more mobile and shopping savvy than ever. Back to School sales are more competitive, so you need to stay up to date on the best ways to reach your audience.
This year has the potential to be a strong back-to-school shopping season. The most tech savvy brands are integrating their back to school sales through multiple marketing channels and SMS is a high priority. “The International Council of Shopping Centers’ annual Back-to-School Consumer Spending Survey reveals that 67 percent of shoppers plan to spend more than last year, while 79 percent plan to use a mobile device while shopping in-store for back-to-school”(source: Mobile Commerce Daily).
1. LOCAL TARGETING: While many shoppers are price or deal driven, use your mobile tools to deliver locally targeted information that includes relevant offers to back-to-school shoppers. The mobile coupons you send via text make it easier for shoppers to quickly redeem coupons.
2. PERSONALIZE: Your shoppers want to feel like they are only getting the information that is most relevant to them. Rather than sending large blasts out to your entire audience, use purchase history or activities to send more targeted messages about specific products.
3. INTEGRATE: If you can create a smooth single stream in the user experience – from text message with a mobile coupon, to the rack in store, to the checkout – then your retail store is likely to beat out the competition. Do this by integrating your systems. Connect your CRM system with your SMS platform and your Point of Sale.
4. MOBILE WEB: If your website is not already mobile friendly by now, then you may be in for trouble during back to school shopping time. Whether a shopper is visiting your website from an email, text, or another website, the user experience needs to be a positive one. Test things out. Make sure buttons are easy to click on all device types (not just iPhone), and that making a purchase appears secure.
5. TAX FREE WEEKEND: Leverage the tax free weekend the same way you would a holiday. Plan specific promotions for those days to drive traffic into your store. In Texas, the tax free weekend is August 7-9. If you have an existing list of contacts in your mobile database, then push your message out between today (8/4) and Friday (8/7). Make your contacts feel like they are getting exclusive content.
Mobile payment technology is growing fast as a must-have component in the restaurant business, alongside customer demand for speed, convenience and a willingness to use the technology. While many operators rely on third-party services, some have chosen to develop proprietary smartphone apps in house.
“[Technology] has become a part of everyone’s daily life, and this is just the beginning,” said Kevin McCarney, owner of the 10-unit Poquito Mas restaurant group in Los Angeles, which last year introduced mobile payments and online ordering through a third-party provider.
“We are in the hospitality business, and today our guests use technology to connect to friends, to the world and to us as restaurants,” McCarney said.
That adoption has been swift. Roughly one-quarter of consumers say technology options are important features that factor into their decision to choose a restaurant, according to the National Restaurant Association in its 2015 Restaurant Industry Forecast, published in January.
That was an increase from less than 20 percent the prior year, which underscored that “technology rapidly is becoming an expectation rather than a novelty when dining out.”
NRA research found 9 percent of consumers at least once a week used smartphones or tablets for meal payment, and 26 percent used it at least a few times a year.
Many restaurant brands look for mobile payment solutions that incorporate other services, such as ordering and loyalty programs, including rewards.
The 21,800-unit Seattle-based Starbucks Corp. has more than 9 million My Starbucks Rewards program members, and many have adopted its smartphone app. While Starbucks has become a gold standard in this regard, smaller brands are finding ways to tap into the all-in-one mobile offerings.
In mid-February, Chicago-based Wow Bao, the five-unit fast-casual division of Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises Inc., introduced a branded mobile payment app that includes messaging, online ordering and gift purchases.
“Wow Bao customers can now select a favorite location, buy gift cards, reload gift cards easily and much more with this new version.” Geoff Alexander, managing partner at Wow Bao, said in a statement.
“That rate of digital adoption is more than double where we were at the end of the second quarter,” he noted, adding that big box retailers are generating digital sales of 2 percent to 5 percent, and the big pizza brands are seeing digital sales in the range of 35 percent to 50 percent.
The pizza brands appeal to a younger audience, who are adopting mobile payment technology faster than other demographic groups, according to the NRA 2015 forecast.
“As with most technology-related matters, this sentiment is much stronger among younger consumers,” the NRA noted. “But older generations are starting to increase their usage as well. In addition, people with children under 18 in their households are more likely to say that technology options factor into their restaurant choices.”
In 1997, Coca Cola launched a project with a small number of vending machines in Helsinki that allowed customers to pay for their drink via text message. Later that year, Merita Bank used text messaging for bank account transactions. That was 10 years before the iPhone was introduced in 2007, when the world of how we communicate began to seriously change. During those 10 years a lot of revolutionary things happened – the introduction of NFC (Near Field Communication), PayPal Mobile, and buying everyday items like movie tickets and pizza from our mobile phones.
In more recent years, we’ve seen the launch of dedicated mobile payment systems. Google Wallet, Passbook, Squared Payments, and many other solutions have popped up. In 2013, mobile payments at POS tripled from the previous year (Federal Reserve, 2014) 17% of all smartphone users reported using mobile payments during the 12 month period, with the heaviest usage among Millennials.
Growth with mobile payments as been slow for various reasons, but the most frequently reported reason is security. People are largely concerned with their information being stolen, which is totally understandable. So how does Apple address this issue?
How Apple Pay Works
It uses a form of short-range wireless communications (NFC) for the payment transactions. When you put your iPhone 6 near an NFC-enabled POS system then scan of your thumbprint, the transaction is completed. This transaction is using an encryption to keep your personal and banking information safe, so that it cannot be hacked through the wireless exchange. Using NFC, two devices that are near each other can have a fast exchange of information that is secure.
What is really interesting about this is that Samsung and a few other smartphone producers have introduced similar systems in the past. However, these other mobile payments did not catch on.
The Apple Effect
Even though a larger percentage of the smartphone market in the US is owned by Android devices, Apple has this magical effect on consumers. Apple Pay is technically not a technology revolution, but the world audience is reacting as if it is a brand new concept. This company forces competitors to innovate and evolve their business models in order to grow.
This post from the Small Business Forum really drives home the importance of connecting with your customers on multiple devices and tracking the results.
Cross-Device Tracking: How Leveraging it Will Increase Sales Leads
When widespread consumer Internet usage exploded in the late 90s, it quickly became clear to marketing professionals that this mode of communication would prove to be extremely lucrative. Since then, online marketing has become a key component of every effective marketing campaign. But over the last decade, mobile usage has skyrocketed, and the way consumers access and use the Internet has continually evolved. Today, the average American uses at least three separate devices to access the web every day.
Cross-device tracking is a relatively new trend that involves marketing content to users across each of their mobile and desktop devices. Essentially, what cross-device tracking allows companies to do is monitor a person’s use of his or her desktop computer, laptop, and mobile device. For example, if people close their laptops and start browsing on the same websites from their mobile devices, the websites will see them as the same users. Your next question might be, “So what?” Well, here are a few ways this practice can increase sales leads for those companies.
Capitalize on Users’ Mindsets
Since a core factor in advertising performance is frequency of exposure, it’s logical to assume that targeting the same consumers across each of their devices will prove effective. In reality, this isn’t always the case. Sure, consumers don’t change drastically when they put their smartphone down and reach for their laptop, but they do undergo a mindset change — and marketers should account for that.
For instance, a person is still the same person when they’re watching primetime TV, shopping on eBay, and checking their Twitter feed, but they’re in a different mindset for each of those activities. Each of these contexts involve a varying degree of receptivity to advertising. Changing the way you approach your audience will drastically enhance the experience for both parties.
Be a Part of the Entire Shopping Process
Until recently, marketers gave full credit for online purchases to the device through which users ultimately made purchases. This only tells the final chapter in the shopping process. According to Google, nine out of 10 people who shop online research and read reviews on products before making their purchase.
Exercising cross-device tracking allows retailers to become a part of the entire shopping process. The most important thing to keep in mind with this idea is that consumer behavior changes according to the device of choice. People generally use their PCs for researching, wireless phones for social media and simple browsing, and tablets for entertainment purposes.
Cross-device tracking gives marketers a way of understanding how their customers are interacting with their brand on varying devices. Knowing this information opens the opportunity to tailor your messages to suit the consumer and the device, which will inherently increase your ROI.
Better Utilize the Shopping Cart Reminder
Online retailers have dreaded the fact that nearly two-thirds of online shopping carts are abandoned by consumers. For years this statistic seemed incredibly dire, but cross-device tracking has helped to paint a different picture of the scenario. Through this method, we now know that 40 percent of shoppers use the cart as part of their decision-making process. It serves as a sort of storage tool that they can return to later, after having researched and budgeted for the items in the cart.
Understanding this statistic will help you better utilize your shopping cart reminders. Take this scenario, for example. A woman is shopping for baby clothes online during her lunch break. She puts a dozen items into her cart and returns to work. That night, she plops onto her couch and whips out her tablet to review more items through her high-speed Internet service. She hones in on the items she actually wants to buy and checks out.
During the time between her lunch break and her couch surfing, her cart was technically considered abandoned. Should she have sent a reminder to review the items in her cart? Possibly. It could have been a nice reminder, or she might have perceived it to be intrusive and get turned off to the sale altogether. Cross-device tracking will give you an idea about whether your audience is likely to return to their cart on a different device, or if the cart is truly abandoned.
Cross-device tracking is the next big thing in online marketing. Thanks to the traffic monitoring software available today, we can now monitor consumer behavior and find ways to interact with them in a meaningful, profitable way.
JT Ripton is a business consultant and freelance writer who enjoys writing about a myriad of topics, including business and technology. You can follow him on Twitter @JTRipton
Chances are that in your pocket or purse right now you have access to the world’s largest shopping experience. That’s right, your mobile device is an instant access window to the world of online shopping. As more and more retailers deliver optimal mobile shopping solutions on their websites the mobile phone is becoming a consumer’s MVD (Most Valuable Device).
According to a recent study published by Adweek, 18-34 year olds are highly likely to use their mobile device as a shopping tool. This demographic goes in-store and does shopping comparisons, and then requests price matching with their phone in hand. They also favor shopping directly from their mobile device with mobile apps and mobile websites.
As this demographic matures into adulthood they will bring their shopping habits with them. According to a recent eMarketer study, by the year 2017 more than 25% of all online retail transactions will take place on mobile websites and apps. Over the past few years we have seen the exponential growth of mobile commerce. This trend will continue in the coming years as more and more students from the mobile generation join the workforce and become the independent consumers of tomorrow.
Still Unsure About Mobile Commerce?
Those unsure about the future of mobile commerce most often worry about security. However, one of the greatest advances in mobile commerce is the security factor. Mobile app developers go to great lengths to insure the safety of your data and purchases, and the encryption of cellular data transfers is top notch. On top of these built-in mobile security features e-commerce giant Paypal has just announced a new “log In with Paypal” commerce identity solution. Paypal is making mobile commerce easy for developers by allowing the customer to log in via their Paypal account, as opposed to having to create a new account for each online vendor/store. This simple system is convenient for consumers and completely secure as your transactions are backed by Paypal’s consumer guarantee.
The built in security of cellular networks and the added benefits of new technology partners like Paypal make mobile commerce a safe as well as convenient way to shop.
Headquartered in Austin, Texas, TrueDialog is the preferred SMS solution for enterprise businesses and higher education. TrueDialog's cloud-based software and API make it simple to send mass text messages, communicate with employees, alert students and parents, and provide multi-user, team-based customer support at scale.