Mobile commerce & Mobile marketing #ecomchat – Key points

October 23, 2012

This week’s #ecomchat was on mobile commerce and mobile marketing. There are many reasons why this is a topic of hot debate and relevance to e-commerce teams, so let’s distill this into a few key points:

  • There is a proliferation of mobile devices (smartphones, tablets etc)
  • Many people now regularly use more than one device for communication.
  • People use mobile devices on the move to access content & offers.
  • Mobile connectivity enables companies to stay in touch with customers outside of traditional communication windows (e.g. on the commute to and from work).
  • In B2B senior decision makers often cite their mobile as the key communication tool.

The biggest challenge for e-commerce teams is to understand how their customers want to interact with their company via mobile channels. Understanding customer demand and then translating this into a technology & marketing solution is a complex task. The aim of our chat was to share opinions on how to do this.

Summary of mobile commerce #ecomchat comments>/h2>

Below is a summary of the key discussion points and links to related/interesting content on mobile commerce. You can find a full digest of the chat session here.

Question 1 – Responsive vs Separate Sites vs One-Size-Fits-All for ecommerce – what do you think are the pros & cons of each?

  • General consensus that mobile sites usually need cut down features to suit device limitations (proposed by @CraigWSoftcat). The examples given for retail by @willdymott were product zoom and 360° rotation.
  • However, responsive design is considered beneficial in order to make sure the desktop site is at least accessible (suggested by @StokedSEO), instead of forcing mobile browers into awkward scrolling.
  • It’s also important that businesses understand the implications of each option. For example, @DanielMColeman suggested that a separate mobile site suffers from DNS latency during the redirect process and attracts additional costs for maintenance and support.
  • Mobile sites are considered worthwhile if they offer a truly optimised mobile experience, not just a mobile version of desktop content and features.
  • Often the user journey gets ignored at the expense of ‘having a mobile site’ – for example, deep links get sent out via social marketing, but redirect rules mean people are redirected to an untargeted mobile homepage.
  • A good point was made by @StokedSEO regarding giving customers the choice – don’t assume that a mobile visitor wants the mobile site, give them the choice. This can be done either via sniffer code inserting an overlay, or having a prominent ‘Visit the desktop site’ on the mobile site, visible on all pages (as suggested by @danbarker).
  • Key tip – don’t assume that all mobile device users should be directed to a mobile website. @danbarker pointed out that sometimes desktop sites outperform mobile sites for mobile visitors. Most likely down to a poorly structured mobile site but it’s important to use analytics to learn what is happening – don’t send people to a mobile site that isn’t ready!
  • General agreement that a key issue in decision making is budget vs. cost and decision making being compromised – it’s a big challenge to know what’s the best solution. @JamesGurd view was that projects start wrong if the thought is ‘we just need to adapt the desktop site, job done’
  • An interesting comment was made by @Paul_Bidder that there is a school of thought that says you start with designing for mobile first, then reverse engineer for desktop (a view shared by @hitono)
  • An unanswered question is: at what size screen resolution do you stop thinking of a device as ‘mobile’. A good example is the new proposed Google Tablet which will be 2560×1600. @dergal view is that it’s not mobile, it’s 10” screen same as some laptops, so does it really need special treatment?

Question 2 – Marketing for mobile: what should people do differently to take ‘mobile’ into account in their marketing?

  • @willdymott made a sensible point that you should keep your phone number visible when ever the call centre is open.
  • A key discussion was around integration mobile with other channels – need to think through how customers will use mobile to respond to campaigns before launching.
  • An interesting comment from @danbarker was measuring actions like “send to friend” as outcomes for mobile response – sometimes people aren’t ready to buy via mobile but send a link to themselves to review later on desktop/tablet.
  • It’s good practice to track clicks on your phone number from mobile customers (example given by @willdymott was 0844 numbers which have good reporting)
  • In regards to search marketing, it was agreed that you should split mobile campaigns out from desktop – search intent is different + CPC can often by cheaper and CTR higher.

Question 3 – What should you do to measure ‘mobile’ vs ‘desktop’? (& where do tablets fit?)

  • An interesting measurement is to track the number of clicks on a link for “View desktop site” that is featured on the mobile site – how important is responsive design alongside a mobile site?
  • In web analytics tools, measure mobile and desktop/tablet separately – be careful as out-of-the-box many analytics tools group mobile & table together which is misleading.
  • @JamesGurd and @danbarker both advocated the use of custom segments in Google Analytics for device types (e.g. iPhone) and browser sizes.
    Important and interesting to measure the difference in content consumption between mobile and non-mobile visitors – learn what type of content

Key take away

Mobile strategy shouldn’t be driven by desktop strategy. The user expectations and journeys can differ significantly, as can the intent of mobile visitors. E-commerce teams need to map the mobile journey and then architect a solution that satisfies user demands. Don’t force customers to adapt because you haven’t got the right solution, adapt your solution to match mobile audience needs.

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