The rise of the mobilised consumer

The alarm on your phone goes off in the morning. You pick it up and take it to the kitchen, over breakfast check your emails for anything important, then browse the news.


On the train into work, you push for your best score on Angry Birds before switching to your phone’s music playlist to get you into the office.


While at work, you check the phone automatically for text messages or Tweetdeck updates.


On the way home your music is interrupted by – shock horror – a phone call. More browsing occurs throughout the evening before you plug it into charge.


Welcome to a consumer’s life with their smartphone. Mobile is one of the most personal media devices that consumers interact with today, which is what makes it so incredibly difficult as a marketing tool to get right.


Recent research by Forrester shows that just 8% of Australian adults do not have a mobile phone, but small businesses are failing to adequately exploit this. For example, a mere 9% of Australians regularly receive coupons or promotions on their mobile phones, and just 14% regularly vote with their mobiles or enter a contest via SMS.


Separate figures suggest that mobile is also quickly becoming an essential consumer tool when making purchasing decisions, with Google predicting that a third of location and trading hours enquiries this Christmas will come via a handset.


Meanwhile, according to eBay, nearly four in ten who research a product do so while using their mobile, while 44% who research a product using their mobile still typically purchase in-store.


Further, 15% of those that have used their smartphone to buy a product have been standing in a store but purchased it online from a different retailer via their smartphone.


Even more telling is that almost half of smartphone users in the research say that they would use their mobile to research this year’s Christmas presents.


So how can start-ups cash in on this smartphone retail surge?


Joe Barber, founder and chairman of mobile web adaptation software Modapt, says that while consumers are definitely keen to buy on mobile, getting them over the line is the difficult part.


“(With mobile) you get an overall lower viewership but you get a much higher success rate,” he says.


“Something interesting we’ve seen with our client JeansWest is that they get a far lower bounce off rate on mobile (a “bounce off” is someone hitting a homepage and then leaving straight away) – a very low bounce off rate from 25% to about 7% – and the amount of time spent on the site is three times that spent on the web… and on average they visit about 15 pages instead of three.”


Old-school emails, rather than apps, are leading the charge when it comes to conversing with consumers via mobile. This is mainly because the latter isn’t hinged on forming long-term relationships.


Getting consumers to ‘deep link’ new updates in their apps to communicate with you is a painful endeavour.


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