Posts categorized ‘Mobile’
When evaluating your mobile strategy, the options can overwhelm. What should I be offering my users? How should they be interacting with us on different devices? Do I need to be in the app store?
Once the initial panic slows down, it’s easier to focus on a few key points. Most importantly – a lot like the chicken and egg the egg conundrum – what comes first? The web-based solution or the app?
FUN FACT: A lot of other digital solutions like Zmags, social platforms and email offerings are already Omni-channel optimized and a lot of them even have app options. This can aid in expanding your brand without doing a full technical overhaul.
It’s important to understand the purpose of an app versus web-based solution and how they fit into your digital strategy. Some companies find they only need one or the other, while some brands become heavily dependent on both.
With mobile on the rise, the need for optimization is continuously growing. There are many reasons to make sure your website is prepared for visits from any type of device. Some benefits of web-based optimization are:
- Consistent branding across all platforms - Regardless of device, your brand is represented the same way.
- Less commitment - A user doesn’t have to download an app onto their device to interact with your brand.
- Website behavior is now inherent - Browsing is second nature and understood, so there is no confusion on what the user should be doing when they arrive at your site.
- Price - This solution tends to be less expensive and easy to get up and running if it’s your first step into the mobile channel.
The web-based offering tends to be the first choice when branching into this space since its really just an extension from your current website and branding. A user understands when they arrive at your site that it’s the same as if they were on a computer.
Why an App?
When apps first came to fruition they were said to be the future for all mobile. Although they have definitely dominated at times, they serve a slightly different purpose when reaching customers. Some benefits of the app are:
- Native Build - That means in an app environment the experience can be more custom and complex since its not dealing with the constraints of a mobile browser.
- Offline Capabilities - Content can be cached and viewed when a device does not have an Internet connection.
- Better Performance - Apps are just inherently faster, better functioning platforms since they are driven from the operating system of the device.
- Customer Engagement - You can reserve an app for special promotions, engagement or features to those who have downloaded it. This shows extra appreciation to the brand loyalists invested enough in your offering.
- Revenue Model - An app can cost money. Content inside the app has the option to only be viewable to those who pay to download it.
People who download an app tend to be more loyal to a brand. If they have taken the time to look it up in the app store and install it onto their device, then they are most likely going to interact on a regular basis as well as convert. Having an app available for users like this ensures that they are getting the optimal experience every time they visit.
So What’s Best for Me?
It’s safe to say that in today’s society a brand’s website MUST be optimized for all devices. However, recent studies have shown that 85% of consumers tend to favor apps over mobile websites when interacting on a tablet or smartphone. Therefore, as broad as “digital offerings” can be it’s clear that for most people, offering both a web-based option and an app offers the best level of exposure.
At last week’s MITX Great Mobile Migration Summit, I spoke to an audience along with Joan Connor from PartyLite, a home fragrance direct selling company, on “Why Tablets Will Outpace Smartphones: Trends And Tips To Optimize Every Customer Interaction“.
Our main objective? To provide marketers and agencies with some creative ideas on how to capitalize on the distinctions between tablets and smartphone users – with the goal of helping them improve the digital experience for their customers.
Tablets are used more during leisure time (at night and during the weekends), while smartphone users tend to be on-the-go, looking for quick-hit website searches, directions, etc. So, consumers are in a more relaxed mindset on tablets, often lingering on websites longer and viewing more content and pages – with up to 1.7x more pages viewed on tablets than on smartphones. This multi-screen behavior of “couch commerce” while watching TV can lead to impulse buying and larger average order values among the tablet segment of shoppers.
Here are the Top 5 Tips we covered in detail
2. Shoppable online catalogs
3. Sales enablement
4. Device recognition
5. Tablet apps
PartyLite has been a Zmags client for several years, but has been printing catalogs for nearly 4 decades! At first, PartyLite’s Zmags were just digital replicas of its print catalogs. Several pages, such as candle ordering grids, did not translate well on screen – forcing shoppers to spend extra time just zooming in on all of the details. At Zmags, we noticed this in the data, and recommended designing for digital, using interactive elements and a streamlined layout to create a better user experience, especially on tablets.
Joan’s team at PartyLite took this advice, and have since had incredible success with new optimized digital catalogs that focus on key collections they want to promote in their assortment, instead of long, comprehensive books. The response has been extremely positive among Consultants (direct sellers) and their customers. The PartyLite creative team, seeing the clear benefits, now photographs and designs for digital FIRST and print SECOND!
Take a look at PartyLite’s latest Zmags catalog, a great example of the rich photography and crisp layout that works well to inspire purchases on tablets.
For a complimentary copy of the presentation, please contact us!
Yesterday, several of us from the Zmags team attended MITX’s Mobile Marketing Summit, The Great Mobile Migration, at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
What a great event! We made many new connections and returned to the office feeling much smarter about the future of mobile marketing and its challenges ahead.
Zmags and PartyLite at the MITX Mobile Summit
Ironically, I had forgotten my iPhone at home in a rush that morning, so was feeling very disconnected all day– a strange contrast that reinforced how dependent society (ok, how dependent I!) have become on smartphones. I yearned for my phone on multiple occasions:
1. Had my co-presenter, Joan from PartyLite, arrived? Where should we meet to prep for our speaking session on “Why Tablets Will Outpace Smartphones: Trends And Tips To Optimize Every Customer Interaction”?
2. It was a gorgeous spring day, and everyone enjoyed having lunch outside on the rooftop garden. I found myself wanting to know the exact temperature, but resisted the urge to ask someone else to check for me…
Earlier in the day, Cameron Clayton, President of the Digital Division for Weather.com, shared an interesting stat: that the Weather Channel is the #2 site/app checked on mobile, only coming in behind Facebook (beating out Google). I believe it.
3. Wanted to see and download the Dunkin’ Donuts mobile app during a great session led by Dave Tryder, DD’s Director of Digital Strategy. It sounds like they’ve made the app extremely functional, with store locators, mobile payment capabilities and even digital gifting through the app.
A few speakers (including myself) talked about mobile commerce as an emerging trend that we’ll continue to see more of. Right now, this has taken off more quickly on tablets vs. on smartphones. However, well-designed apps that allow shoppers to easily browse and add items to their carts — even while offline! — should help make transacting easier on smartphones as well.
What activities are you and your target segments doing most on mobile devices? Where do you think things are heading?
Three years ago this question would have been irrelevant. Today, however, there are 75 million tablet users in the United States alone, and that number is only growing. Clearly, the digital landscape is changing drastically. Now, even less tech-savvy people are making demands that brands are being forced to consider and mold to.
The big discussion today in e-commerce and brand experience deals with Tablet versus Mobile. What type of presence should I have? Where are my customers? What’s more important? Where can I be more successful? It’s important that you distinguish between the types of customers that are engaging with your brand, and what type of device they are using to do so. Identifying the personas of mobile and tablet users, as well as users who frequent both devices, will help you identify a strategy.
This user is generally on the go, commuting to and from work, waiting at a doctor’s office or perusing Twitter while sitting in a meeting. They are the surface users trying to get quick-hit information like purchasing a Groupon or setting a dinner reservation on OpenTable.
How to Approach them: Offer an experience that is concise, clear and simple. These people are doing a million things at once and capturing their attention is considered a victory.
- Quick offers- Provide a pain-free way to purchase or get more information with minimal form fields and clicks required.
- Clear messaging- What are they getting out of this? Is the offer different because they are on a mobile device?
- Optimized for the screen- Small screen means less real estate. Be sure to have clear imagery and content that is easily read or able to be zoomed in on with big enough calls to action.
Today, for most brands, the tablet has quickly become the holy grail of customer communication. Brands that can connect with consumers at this touchpoint via a digital catalog or shopping cart can capitalize on this growing behavior. What could be better than a slick device that fits perfectly in your lap while you sit on your couch catching up on the latest episode of Mad Men? This trend is quickly becoming referred to as “couch commerce” and “multi screen experience” as people no longer solely watch TV while unwinding after work.
How to approach them: These users are craving a more in depth visit and are most likely conducting research or making a purchase.
- Offer more- You can demand that these users take a deeper look at your offering. They want to explore more and want more information at their fingertips.
- Easy to transact- These users are spending 54% more on their purchases than their mobile counterparts and 19% more than those on desktops. Encourage them and make it easy for them to buy. Right now tablets are the preferred channel for retail and eCommerce at around 10%, with mobile trailing at around 7%.
- Clean content- The screen is still relatively small. No one ever complimented the iPad for offering them the best super bowl watching experience- so keep that in mind. Continue to keep the content clean, uncluttered, with clear calls to action. You want to make sure your visitors are clear on what they should be doing whether its clicking on a link, previewing a video or signing up for something.
Both platforms are beginning to morph into the communication of the future. Don’t forget to optimize your experience for both – but understand your end game. A user is more likely to spend time engaging with your brand and transacting while on their tablet, so give them more information. However, never forget the mobile folks: on-the-go, but still worthy of interaction. Offer these two experiences and you’ll be converting visitors to brand loyalists in no time.
One of the crucial game changers in online commerce is the user interface. The merit of the product, the innovation of the marketing campaign or the size of the deal offered may all lure customers to the website, but it is invariably the interface they encounter that determine whether they proceed with the purchase or go away.
Marketers have always worked hard to make the user interface as attractive as possible. Successful marketers make sure that such attractiveness does not compromise ease of use. Now, with the advent of multiple digital touch points, marketers need to do more.
Today’s marketers need to offer a clean and intuitive interface that not only caters to seamless engagement and discovery for the customer but also allows the customer to purchase without leaving the catalog. While the focus has always been on allowing the customer to explore or share content-rich pages and dynamic imagery with a quick tap or dab, it is time to allow the customer to move the product to the shopping cart with equal ease. In short, the marketer needs to interpose engagement and commerce to the brand’s online content.
Again, marketers need to not just ensure that they provide a rich and enriching brand experience to customers, but also make sure that such experience remains consistent across all devices through which the customer accesses content.
The new Verge Viewer offered by Zmags facilitates this, as exemplified in the latest catalog of Serena & Lily, the seller of luxury home décor products. The company adopted Verve to provide the next wave of digital experience to its customers. The technology allowed the catalog to sport some intuitive features, such as arresting visuals using maximum available browser space, facilitating swipe based navigation wherein the customers search for products by keyword, accessing the required page with just one swipe or click, and more. The catalog also groups products, displaying the full suite of catalog page below the current page, allowing shoppers to browse or purchase items individually or collectively.
Are you creating a user interface that drives sales?
The success of many enterprises depends on their ability to sell an experience rather than the actual product. This can be done through digital catalogs. In many cases, the actual product would be standard and undifferentiated among the many providers, and businesses would have to compete on providing their customers with a better experience.
Digital catalogs provide a good way to offer an interactive and engaging experience. Overlaying the dynamism provided by the catalog atop the functionality and the rich media of emerging digital touch points such as the tablets brings to life the content on offer, and is a marked improvement from the experience offered by other channels such as the print catalog, a bland PDF page or even the conventional browser based website.
Country Walkers, an adventure travel company offering itineraries around the world, is a case in point. The success of this company’s online marketing efforts depends on its ability to sell the “experiences” such as guided walking, safaris, biking tours and others rather than the basic tour products such as flights and hotel that anyone can match.
Country Walker’s online catalog, powered by Zmags Professional, engages adventure seekers who search for trips online with invigorating photography, videos, sights and sounds featuring activities, scenery, on-site interviews, cuisine and more, offering a near replica of the actual experience.
The underlying analytics provides rich insights on consumer behavior and trends, allowing the company to fine-tune their strategy. Analytics reveal that visitors to the catalog spend more time and have lower bounce rates compared to the company’s website.
Digital catalogs allow marketers to mesmerize the viewers by transforming a replica of the actual experience to the screen. This however is not the end of the marketer’s job. The marketer also has to ensure that the consumers have easy and seamless access to such content. The ZMags Professional powered Country Walkers catalog, for instance, is embedded into the brand page on Facebook, allowing the brand’s Facebook fans easy and convenient access without having to leave Facebook.
Overall, they’re doing a great job of creating a consistent experience for their customer through digital catalogs.
In today’s multi-touch point world, the content matters more than the device. People no longer use specific devices to access specific content, but use multiple devices. For instance, they may watch a video or browse a website through the desktop, the tablet or the smart phone. In this scenario, only the content that remains resilient enough to adapt to the multi-touch point world stand a chance of widespread acceptance.
Oliver & Ohlbaum (O&O)’s annual survey on media consumption trends corroborates this view. The survey reveals that almost half (48%) of all tablet users use the device to watch TV. The corresponding figure last year was 33%.
A bulk of the multi-screen viewership for television is for content strongly linked to apps. 12% of the survey respondents actively use companion apps when watching TV through tablets, and 65% of those who did so felt that it as an engaging way to add value to the TV viewing experience.
However, popular demand is for free catch-up services rather than subscriber video-on-demand services (SVoD). The former is growing at a rapid pace whereas the growth of the latter has flattened out. The survey also reveals that the three most popular video channels viewed in tablet are BBC’s iPlayer, ITV Player and 4oD in that order. YouTube takes the fourth place.
For marketers and content creators, success depends on not just optimizing the various inherent features of the device to provide a truly immersive and enchanting experience, but also on syncing content across various devices to provide consmers with a consistent and integrated experience.
The emergence of digital news may result in the death knell for the print news industry. With customers transitioning their loyalty to the digital media, traditional news media is suffering from loss of circulation and consequently ad dollars.
Now a churn is happening within the digital media. Older generation digital devices, such as television, are feeling the heat from newer and more nimble entrants such as the tablets and the smart phone. These new devices leverage the power of the Internet to deliver instant and customized news to consumers, drawing away the consumer’s attention from the stale and generic news content offered by television channels.
The television retained its dominance as the most popular source for news during the desktop era. Even though web browsers delivered real time and customized news to desktops and laptops, the migration from television to the news websites accessed through desktops and laptops was at a steady and gradual pace, primarily owing to the limitations of accessibility and connectivity. However, the emergence of even more flexible and portable devices such as the smart phone and tablets, the development of Internet technology such as wi-fi connectivity and the popularity of news apps that increases convenience multifold has accelerated the pace of migration.
A June 2012 survey conducted by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press place digital mediums just 16 percentage points behind TV as the primary source for news content, among US consumers.
A September 2012 study survey by Mojiva, a mobile ad network, reveals that smart phone and tablet owners still use the laptop, followed by television as their primary source of news, but indications are that this would change shortly.
In fact, television still holding its ground may be due to demographics. The Pew survey reveals that three-quarters of US news consumers ages 65 and older watched news on TV. In contrast, the percentage of respondents in the age group of 18- to 29-year-olds who watched news on television was just over one-third, and this group has actually dropped TV news consumption by 15 percentage points between 2006 and 2012.
Digital news is taking over – what have you noticed about your content consumption habits?
E-retailers expected increased sales during the peak holiday shopping days such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and their expectations did come true.
Among the top performers during the just concluded holiday season was CVS Caremark Corp, who recorded a 30% increase in traffic compared to the 2011 holiday season. Mobile commerce through tablets and smart phones accounted for a significant chunk of this increase, as evident from the 300% growth this segment enjoyed compared to the 2011 holiday season.
Many retailers wound up with more mobile traffic than expected. American Apparel Inc., for instance anticipated four times the mobile traffic from Cyber Monday 2011 and actually ended up with 20 times more traffic from tablets and smart phones.
Apart from the obvious reason of customers wanting to shop in comfort of their homes, avoiding holiday crowds at the streets and the brick and mortar shops, what made mobile ecommerce succeed this shopping season was many online retailers offering online only discounts.
The range of discounts offered by many online realtors this time extended to innovative and imaginative promotions that invoked the curiosity of the customers. This included, among other promotions, mobile-only “door buster” discounts early morning, “mispriced mystery products” that allowed shoppers to go on a treasure hunt, “FreeFall” offers where customers could buy as much as they wanted for a limited time frame during which time the prices kept on dropping. Many retailers also went aggressive with referral programs, offering gift coupons and discount vouchers to their customers who persuaded non-members to register and purchase from the e-retailer.
The increasing use of tablets for shopping also has a significant impact on when people did their shopping. The bulk of the mobile shopping was in the evening, and with mobile sales now a significant chunk of the total sales, the overall peak shopping period during this holiday season was between 8 P.M. and 11 P.M.
Overall, if you’re a retailer, you need to become an e-retailer to really compete in the space.
Speed and convenience is not the only thing that drives customers to online shopping. Today’s mobile shopper likes to research reviews, compare prices, and share photos as part of the shopping experience. They consider it a positive and enriching experience when they can do all these in seconds, on-line, and in-store.
Mobile digital touch points such as tablets and smart phones make all these possible. Smartphone and tablet owners use their devices to understand products better and enhance their shopping experience, and the success of the online marketer depends on the extent to which they facilitate the customer in this regard.
A study conducted Moosylvania, an ad agency reveals that 30.1% of smartphone owners research products on their mobile device when away from home, 19.6% do so while watching TV, 13.4% do so on the weekends, 12.4% do so when shopping in-store, 10.9% do so while at work and 2.7% do so when on holidays. Only 10.9% of smart phone owners do not research products before purchase. Of shoppers who research products while in a store, 73.9% compare prices among other retailers.
80% of smartphone owners prefer more mobile-optimized product information even when shopping in conventional brick and mortar stores. Among other mobile optimized tools that provide information and make shopping better, 76% prefer mobile coupons, 44% prefer mobile wallets to make payments, 31% prefer mobile apps, 26% prefer QR codes, 20% prefer text messages, 19% prefer links to informational videos and 17% prefer mobile display ads.
The survey also confirms the multi-device trend – where people access the Internet through multiple channels. 97% of respondents (all smart phone owners) have access to a personal computer and 43% of them have access to a tablet.
Are you appealing to the mobile shopper?