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Tim Peter Thinks

Tim Peter

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August 11, 2014

How Mobile Shapes Customer Behavior

August 11, 2014 | By | No Comments

Mobile shapes customer behaviorNew research from eMarketer today highlights how consumers’ changing relationship with technology, especially mobile, shapes customer behavior, noting:

“…60% of US internet users were almost always connected. Fully 43% never unplugged from all personal technology, such as audio players, ereaders, laptops and computers, mobile phones, tablets, and TV, and 17% only took a break a few times a year.”

One of the biggest drivers, by far, is the growth of smartphone usage. Which isn’t surprising when you consider that smartphone penetration in the US has now topped 70%.

This trend towards the Internet, everywhere, creates both opportunity and challenges for many businesses. First, it highlights your need to support your customers when they choose mobile. Mobile serves as the glue connecting your various channels — e-commerce, in-store, call center, catalog — because it’s always at hand. And your customers increasingly expect that they can use their phone to accomplish whatever task they’re faced with, when and where they want.

One huge area of improvement for many marketers and merchandisers is email. Almost three-fourths of all customers check email on their phone regularly and, again, have it close at hand day and night.

Last week I took a look at growing your email list and its importance as an e-commerce best practice. I also gave a talk last week on the same topic. You can view the slides right here:


(And, yes… you can hire me to keynote your next event, too).

If you’re interested in learning even more about how customers changing behavior shapes e-commerce and marketing, register to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” While it’s targeted specifically at hotel and resort marketers, the lessons apply to just about any business. You can get your free copy of the report here.

The reality is the growth of mobile continues to shape your customers’ activity. The question remains is whether it’s shaping yours to meet customer needs.

Just an FYI, I’m presenting a webinar called Digital Marketing Directions: Key Trends Driving Your Marketing Next Year on Tuesday, September 16. You can read all the details here.

Finally, you might also enjoy some of our past coverage of the e-commerce and how to make it work for your business, including:

Tim Peter

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April 14, 2014

Retailers lose 32% of shoppers to in-store mobile use. Or do they?

April 14, 2014 | By | No Comments

Woman shopping phoneInteresting article over on Mobile Commerce Daily today, which outlines a study suggesting retailers lose 32% of shoppers to in-store mobile use. The key quote:

“Tradedoubler research reveals that when smartphones are used in-store for product research, consumer shopping habits sway by 61 percent.”

Um… how to say this politely? I got it: Bullcrap.

Retailers don’t lose 32% of shoppers because of mobile. That’s simply untrue.

They lose 32% of shoppers because their customers found a product that better met their needs. Or found a retailer that addressed an outstanding concern. Or, yes, the customer found the product someplace else that saved them money.

In fact, the less sensational part of the study suggests the exact same thing:

“The research found that after viewing a product on mobile, 20 percent of people decide to buy elsewhere, 20 percent decide against purchase and 22 percent decide to buy online.”

For the most part, customers don’t care about you. They care about their needs. When you meet your customers needs, they’ll buy from you. When you don’t, they won’t. Sure, mobile may be facilitating the process, but suggesting that, somehow, that process is mobile’s fault is patently absurd.

Look at it this way: If your customers are bailing just because they found a better offering, were they really your customers in the first place? Or were they always looking for a better offering, but had fewer ways to find one?

I suspect it’s the latter.

Customers choose strong brands — Apple, Google, Pepsi, Coke, Harley-Davidson, Fischer Travel, and countless others — because those brands tell an effective story that connects with their customers. Full stop.

I have an iPhone. I very much like my iPhone. Would I trade it for an Android phone, say the Galaxy S5? Nope. I would not. This, despite that fact that an Android phone is undoubtedly less expensive (at least upfront), and probably every bit as effective a smartphone.

Why wouldn’t I switch? Because, for whatever reason, the iPhone is the right phone for me. Just like I prefer Diet Coke to Diet Pepsi (and, using “prefer” in that context is like saying “I prefer breathing oxygen to not breathing oxygen.”)

Mobile may make it easier for your customers to learn you’re not the right choice for them. The question is, what can you do to make sure you are the right choice?

On a related note, you may enjoy these slides from a recent speaking engagement “Elements of E-commerce: How Digital Storytelling Drives Revenue and Results”. Check them out here:

And, if you’re interested in learning even more about the future of e-commerce and marketing via the social, local, mobile web, register to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” While it’s targeted specifically at hotel and resort marketers, the lessons apply to just about any business. You can get your free copy of the report here.

Finally, you might also enjoy some of our past coverage of the social, local, mobile web and what it means for your business, including:

Tim Peter

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February 18, 2014

Holy Crap! Mobile’s Even Bigger Than You Thought (Travel Tuesday)

February 18, 2014 | By | No Comments

Mobile travel is everywhereJeez, did you see this? eMarketer highlights am unbelievable PhoCusWright study, saying,

“While US mobile travel bookings sat at $6.15 billion in 2012, PhoCusWright forecast this would rise to $39.50 billion by 2015.” [Emphasis mine.]

If you’re not doing the math at home, that’s an 86% increase per year, every year, for three straight years.

Seem unlikely?

Well… maybe not.

Mobile Commerce Daily today had a piece that claims:

“Starwood Hotels & Resorts has seen a surge in mobile this past quarter with mobile bookings growing five times faster than Web bookings did ten years ago.” [Emphasis very much mine. If I could emphasize it more, I would.]

By the way, Starwood touted that number during its quarterly earnings call. So, yeah, I think we can take that as pretty legitimate.

Anyone who remembers the original dot-com boom as I do will tell you “five times faster than Web [growth] ten years ago,” is a big, honkin’ number. Real big.

Now, are these growth numbers driven in part from a small base? Of course they are. Is 86% growth a year sustainable for a long period? Nuh-uh.

But, even if these numbers taper off to a growth rate comparable with early e-commerce of “only” 25-30%%, you’re still looking at a doubling in revenues every 2-3 years. And that doesn’t include bookings through voice or other channels driven by the 42% of visits to its websites Starwood now receives from mobile customers. (Very likely, as difficulty in booking on mobile remains among guests’ top complaints in the PhoCusWright study mentioned earlier and a key brake on the growth of mobile commerce.)

Starwood CEO Frits van Paaschen stated during the earnings call,

““This is changing the way consumers interact with brands and what they expect from the companies behind those brands… The challenge is to keep pace with these changes, as today’s novelties become tomorrow’s table stakes. Put simply, we see connectivity, especially through mobile, as the great opportunity for dialogue with travels.” [Yes, again, emphasis mine]

This sounds a lot like the advice I gave a few weeks ago when looking at why it’s time to take mobile seriously:

  • Ensure your website meets mobile guests’ needs. Prioritize content that matters to your guests in a mobile context. When you view your site on a mobile phone, can you find the phone number? The address? A link to directions or a map? If they’re going to call anyway, make it easy for them to do so.
  • Improve your voice conversion rate. The more calls you turn into sales, the more profitable a channel voice becomes. Also, look to upselling to increase your revenue per call and improve overall profitability.
  • Explore improved mobile booking solutions. Or pressure your existing vendor to improve its mobile capabilities. Guests won’t book if it’s hard to do so. Focus on making it easy.
  • Finally, develop your hotel’s overall mobile strategy. Think about how and where your guests use their mobile devices and seek to answer the questions important in those contexts. Real hospitality means helping your guests every step of the way, especially when they’re on the go.

This is no longer a “coming trend.” It’s, as Mr. van Paaschen put it, “table stakes.” You want to play the game? It’s time to ante up.

Interested in more trends shaping travel e-commerce and Internet marketing in 2014? Check out my 2014 Digital Marketing Directions Presentation (featured below), and don’t forget to apply the 4 New Year’s Resolutions for Hotel Marketers I talked about a few weeks back.

If you’re interested in learning even more about the future of e-commerce and marketing via the social, local, mobile web, register to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” While it’s targeted specifically at hotel and resort marketers, the lessons apply to just about any business. You can get your free copy of the report here.

You might also enjoy some of our past coverage of the social, local, mobile web and what it means for your business, including:

Tim Peter

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September 25, 2013

Streamlining Sales and Marketing with Mobile – Thinks Out Loud Episode 43

September 25, 2013 | By | No Comments

Mobile commerce grows up

Streamlining E-commerce with Mobile Headlines

You can also register to receive a free copy of my special report, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World,” produced in conjunction with Vizergy, here. While it’s targeted to the hospitality industry specifically, most of the lessons apply across verticals.

And, as promised, here’s the video of those Microsoft concepts for you to check out:

Contact information for the podcast: podcast@timpeter.com

Technical details: Recorded using a Shure SM57 microphone
through a Mackie Onyx Blackjack USB recording interface into Logic Express 9 for the Mac.

Running time: 17m 52s

You can subscribe to Thinks Out Loud in iTunes [iTunes link], subscribe via our dedicated podcast RSS feed (or better yet, given that Google has now killed Reader, sign up for our free newsletter). You can also download/listen to the podcast here on Thinks using the player below:

Tim Peter

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September 23, 2013

Mobile Makes E-commerce Even More "Frictionless"

September 23, 2013 | By | No Comments

E-commerce on smartphones is frictionlessI’ve been playing with Apple’s new iOS 7 the last few days and it got me thinking about how frictionless e-commerce already is on mobile. Consider these customer experiences:

  • Apple’s new iTunes Radio allows for song purchases directly from within the player, as have Pandora and others.
  • Apple’s flagship iPhone 5s can use its TouchID fingerprint reader to authorize purchases in iTunes for music, apps, and movies.
  • Amazon’s Kindle line enables consumers simple access to buy both digital and physical inventory.
  • UK retail giant Tesco has introduced a new device, the Hudl, largely to achieve benefits similar to the Kindle’s.
  • Google offers its Wallet payment platform on both Android devices and, as of last week, iOS, streamlining purchases and money transfers.
  • eBay offers a variety of apps providing instant access to commerce activities for its users across mobile platforms.

And, of course, all of these ignore the myriad in-app purchase capabilities among numerous games and productivity apps, whether offered as add-on’s to an existing paid product or as part of a “free-mium” business model (providing a free basic version and selling premium features for power users).

The Value of “Frictionless” E-commerce

Now, streamlining purchase activity has long been a central tenet of e-commerce. Amazon and eBay have built their businesses primarily on moving the barriers between consumers and commerce (for example with tools like this, this, this, and this).

But mobile destroys those barriers.

While many mobile e-commerce applications have lots of room to improve, the integration available across mobile platforms, including shopping/browsing history and payment information, combine to produce the “slickest” (in terms of friction) commerce capabilities we’ve ever seen. Facebook already has gotten in the game, partnering with a number of payment providers and e-commerce shops to facilitate streamlined payment.

AGFAM and Frictionless E-commerce

Among the AGFAM players, Facebook and Google may face a slight disadvantage here (and, really, I can’t emphasize slight enough — after all, check out what Facebook’s doing with payment integration as mentioned earlier). But with their long-term focus on growing advertising revenue, they’re simply less accustomed to monetizing the transaction, typically preferring to monetize the traffic, visit, visitor, or “eyeball” instead. That’s not necessarily a weakness; it could well be a strength. It’s simply that their (relative) inexperience facilitating transactions may provide Amazon, Apple, eBay, and even Yahoo openings to dominate the space over time.

Mobile Drives “Big Data,” Improves Context and Conversions

And, of course, none of this takes into account the consumer data available from the mobile experience itself, including location, motion, and more advanced data coming in next generation devices. The trend is clear: “content + context” data will continue to drive conversions, both in 2013 and beyond.

Conclusion

Mobile brings e-commerce into the retail environment to the point where “it’s just shopping.”

The key is how quickly you embrace that reality to decrease friction for your customers—and conversions for yourself.

If you’re interested in learning more about the future of e-commerce and marketing via the social, local, mobile web, register to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” While it’s targeted specifically at hotel and resort marketers, the lessons apply to just about any business. You can get your free copy of the report here.

You might also enjoy some of our past coverage of the social, local, mobile web and what it means for your business, including: