A click for the real world—that is what consumers tell us they want. The ability to satisfy an impulse and click to get more from the real world. The "real world" equals restaurant menus, landmarks, packages, retail marketing materials, event signage, brochures, hang tags, bus shelters, taxi advertising, fast food cups … really, the list is endless and the opportunities are boundless. But what is "more"? In 2013, we learned a lot about what more is to the consumers who drive our businesses.
More from the digital channel has actually been evolving for quite some time. Around 2004, businesses expanded what could be accomplished via an online click with what we now call Internet 2.0 functionality. Was this because business identified a latent demand for greater digital capabilities, or did consumers demand more than what common brochure-type websites offered? The answer is, "Both!" The convergence of these two influences resulted in highly sophisticated digital functionality that has become the norm. Long-standing, manual, human procedures (like looking up a location on a map, clipping a coupon or checking the weather) have been transformed into highly connected experiences, taking advantage of complex digital platforms.
Despite sophisticated consumer use and demand for more, businesses are still trying to figure out how to deliver more to consumers using mobile as a platform. While consumers are demanding the ease of the click and Internet 2.0 experiences, marketers have delivered highly functional apps that require consumer commitment and QR Codes that connect to underwhelming, static Web pages. As marketers, we seem to over deliver what consumers do not necessarily want (as evidenced by the fact that, in most cases, consumers only go back to an app once after downloading) and under-deliver what they do want—more turnkey access to highly sophisticated functionality.
The new twist with mobile is that the highly sophisticated functionality can be contextual—not only based on prior consumer experience, but also based on the consumer location and the reality of their real world needs/desires and the time.
Consumers are telling us they want more highly sophisticated contextual functionality:
- 60 percent would like to receive deals and promotions based on their location and/or transaction history (comScore);
- 47 percent of consumers are interested in getting a coupon texted to them when close to a retailer (comScore);
- Mobile commerce, or m-commerce, in the U.S. is growing at a rate of 30 percent year-over-year and is beginning to alter the retail landscape (comScore);
- Mobile accounted for close to 35 percent of all online shopping traffic during the last quarter of 2013, an increase of 40 percent year-over-year; and
- Mobile users have very high purchase intent with 60 percent of smartphone users and 53 percent of tablet users having completed purchases related to their mobile activity.
An over-reliance on apps (requiring a download) and QR Codes that connect to static information or existing websites, in our experience, is not meeting consumer demand for more on their mobile devices—consumers have come to expect that businesses meet them where they are, reliably anticipate their needs/desires and meet these needs with mobile programming going beyond basic content to functionality. For example:
- the opportunity to receive coupons via mobile and save or use those coupons when they find something they want to buy;
- the ability to complete a purchase transaction for gear on display without having to physically stand in line to pay for it; and
- the ability to listen to a music demo, then buy and download a sponsored song and register for band updates when motivated by an advertisement.
While a lot has been invested in robust functionality for apps, we learned in 2013 that consumers want the same level of sophistication that is delivered via apps, but they want it delivered via a click. A click for the real world—because clicks in the real world meet consumers' contextual needs with turnkey accessibility that apps cannot deliver.
Jane McPherson is CMO of Denver-based mobile marketing and technology company SpyderLynk. Reach her at email@example.com.