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2012 Mobile Commerce Explosion – Part 2


Balance But Not Harmony

We at Thought-Tech believe M-commerce could be the biggest thing to consumerism since the dot-com boom of 2000. As a result we’ve devoted two posts to the subject. In case you missed it, Part 1 can be viewed via this link. Previously we identified the four trends converging now that are setting up the 2012 M-commerce explosion.

Today we’ll look at four factors impacting marketers and retailers in the race to M-commerce mastery.

Venus and Mars – Men and women display different patterns of smartphone shopping behavior while in a retail store, with women more likely to engage in a variety of social activities, according to a February 2012 report from comScore. In the 3-month average ending in December 2011, comScore found that women were 22 percent more likely than men to take a product picture, 38.4 percent more likely to send those pictures to friends or family, and 18.6 percent more likely to text or call family or friends about a specific product. Women, making up the Venus group maintain their conversational and social tendencies – even when shopping alone.

By contrast, men were more likely to use their smartphone to find information: they were 26 percent more likely than women to scan a product bar code, 41 percent more likely to compare product prices, and 51.4 percent more likely to research product features. The guys from Mars stay task oriented…perhaps even more so with access to additional data points – especially if available on demand.

Care To Compare – According to Nielsen report on digital consumers, in Q3 2011, 38 percent of smartphone owners used their device to compare prices online while shopping in a store, matched by the proportion who used their device to browse products through websites or applications. Other popular activities included reading online reviews of products (32 percent), searching for/using online coupons (24 percent), purchasing products (22 percent), scanning a bar code for price/product information (22 percent), using location-based services to find a retail location (18 percent), and placing a bid through an online auction (15 percent).

Zero Tolerance For Poor Site Experience – Compuware found online consumers are even less patient now than they were in 2009, with 37 percent finding performance issues to be unacceptable, compared with 29 percent in 2009. Poor web-site performance during peak times has a clear, negative impact on the brand/company providing the experience. Three quarters of those who experienced problems have gone to a competitive site as a result of poor performance during peak usage times, and 28 percent did so immediately.

The two crashes experienced at last fall contributed to Target’s tepid holiday sales. There are likely multiple contributing factors to Target’s performance in 4Q 2011 but there’s more than a good chance shoppers became wary of the site due to its failures.

M-commerce Tendencies Will Force Sellers To Adapt – “M-Commerce will have a dramatic effect on the car rental industry”, says Bob Barton, President of the American Car Rental Association. “We have already seen some of the ramifications. Currently, the majority of the car rental companies do not charge for no-shows. We are the only portion of the travel segment not to do so. As the airports move more and more into consolidated rental facilities, the likelihood of M-Commerce impacting this no-show percentage will increase. Consumers are fickle and nothing is more important than their time. If a consolidated facility has your reserved brand located inside of it, and there is a line, consumers will re-book to another supplier with a shorter wait.”

Mr. Barton is a member of G+, a social media component of the Gerson Lehrman Group – which connects businesses and individuals to people with the insights to empower better decisions. Barton responded to my question, “How will mobile commerce (M-commerce) effect the relationship of retailers and consumers?” on the G+ site.

Follow the link above to see what a number of industry experts have to say about this subject. It will expand your thinking about M-commerce immediately.

What’s Next? – All factors point to relational change – largely in the favor of consumers. Retailers and marketers are at a cross-roads when it comes to M-commerce. They can choose to embrace, adapt and win or ignore, avoid and lose. Pretty simple, really.

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