Even with the consumer shopping behavior shift to digital (online, mobile), a traditional approach to sales still supports mobile marketing efforts.

Digital technology has complicated the path to purchase. The once-orderly shopping progression (sales funnel) from discovery to consideration to purchase to loyalty is now a mesh of multiple paths. Each path has multiple channels available for customers to follow.

The general model of the sales funnel still provides a helpful comparison, as it helps structure the role of mobile marketing and advertising efforts.

At the top of the funnel, businesses introduce, or re-introduce, themselves to customers and a bit further down the funnel, they engage customers and build a long-term relationship. Smartphones have unique abilities to make such introductions and build relationships.

Customers usually shop in their favorite stores, whether they’re online or off. Frequently, these shoppers are often not aware of alternatives, so the first challenge for businesses is to announce, or raise awareness, to potential customers of the alternatives. Call it the awareness or discovery phase.

Location-based Advertising

Businesses have always advertised to announce themselves but mobile adds a unique and transforming element: Location. Location-based advertising can take a few different forms, usually online ads targeting specified zip codes or GPS coordinates.

Though this technology is in its relative infancy, studies report that it performs very well for businesses – as one-third of tablet owners and nearly one-quarter of smartphone owners were most likely to click on ads that were locally relevant to them.

Research vs. Purchase

For businesses using mobile, the “consideration” phase of the traditional funnel model is maybe better expressed as engagement: customers interacting with businesses. Mobile’s big impact on engagement comes via businesses mobile apps and social media brand pages. A May 2013 study found that businesses use ads to convince existing customers to deepen their relationship.

The closer customers get to a purchase, the more they use their phones – to a point. Smartphones shine as instant information sources, especially when customers evaluate the price, quality and availability of an item. They visit search engines, look at reviews and product information or ask their friends, but fewer actually buy items directly from phones.

In a June 2013 survey, just 14% of shoppers preferred to research in-store, with the rest using laptops and mobile devices. Then further down the funnel, at the actual point of purchase, 45% preferred buying retail products in-store. People are using their mobile devices mostly to research, not buy products.

A survey of 400 people* found that half of people aren’t altering how they’re looking for information online, because they treat smartphone searches the same way would laptop/desktop queries.

One report stated that, while smartphones may do the ‘shopping’, it is tablets that do the buying. Between the two devices, more purchases are made from tablets than smartphones. A couple reasons for that result may be that businesses websites are not mobile compatible and/or the small phone screen is not conducive to the buying experience.

Businesses are focusing and reallocating ad dollars on influencing shoppers at the research stage of the funnel, particularly in search advertising (placing online ads on web pages that show results from search engine queries), as opposed to the actual point of purchase. Mobile sites and Location-based advertising are particularly effective ways for businesses trying to attract customers into their store.

Mobile Shopping Estimates:

  • 79.5 million US Internet users bought goods or services via mobile devices at least once in 2013.
  • Including 52.3 million who bought via smartphones.
  • And 71.1 million who bought via tablets.
  • In 2014 the total will rise to nearly 100 million mobile buyers.

“Location, location, location” is a statement about the three most important factors of buying real estate – now it can be redirected and used as a reminder for businesses about the focus all their marketing must have. With new Location-driven technologies and channels, businesses can now get truly creative, personal and relevant with the ways they engage past and potential customers.

Actions to establish or enhance your Mobile efforts:

  • Engage a Local SEO program to raise visibility on mobile search as customers are out and about.
  • Market based on what customers are going to want to know from a mobile device.
  • Set-up a Click-To-Call button for calling convenience.
  • Set-up a special Google phone number tied to your Google Analytics to track calls.

The path to Mobile purchasing success is a matter of using new tools applied to the traditional, but web-enhanced, approach to sales.

The team here at Everbearing is ready to hear, and help, with your mobile marketing challenges. Please share your experiences below or contact us for advice and support!


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