A recent whitepaper by Coremetrics included some interesting statistics, highlighting the importance with which marketers are starting to treat the mobile platform. Of the 250 marketers surveyed, just over 80 per cent said they thought the return on investment on mobile marketing would be higher this year. As if to highlight the importance of this channel, the mighty Google has launched a new product called Mobilize that makes it easier for companies to create high quality mobile commerce sites.
Despite the enthusiasm of marketers around mobile, however, the Coremetrics research makes it clear that many are still not prepared to invest in the channel. 57.5 per cent of respondents hadn’t yet created a version of their site optimised for the mobile platform, and 66.1 per cent hadn’t created a mobile app.
Considering how ubiquitous smartphones are becoming, these statistics are very surprising. Even more shocking is that implementing a mobile eCommerce platform doesn’t appear to be a priority for those surveyed; only 10 per cent said they had a mobile payment mechanism. On a more fundamental level, less than half of the respondents felt confident enough in mobile marketing to integrate it fully into the marketing mix.
This research shows that while marketers can see the potential for mobile, they are struggling to turn their ideas into reality. Brands need a way of ensuring that information about their products can reach their audience, no matter what platform they are using. This is where high quality product data feeds can make the process of mobile marketing much more straightforward, ensuring that the right product information is available in a format that can be used by mobile technology.
When coupled with a mobile commerce platform, these applications can add another profitable revenue stream. By extracting product data directly from the merchant’s eCommerce website (front end), it is possible to create an accurate feed, comprising rich product information that encompasses the merchant’s entire inventory. This feed can then be used to power rich product information very simply into an mCommerce site.
Rather than rebuilding a conventional browsing or navigational experience, mobile-friendly formats can be created directly from a product feed, using filters and categories to present the exact product information and images the consumer is looking for.
This approach has successfully been adopted by mCommerce sites such as ShopStyle. However, feeds can be just as effective in simplifying the mobile browsing experience, by presenting product information trimmed from the data feed. Regardless of whether the mobile website includes mCommerce functionality, the key factor is that product information reaches the consumer properly presented and rendered in mobile browsers.
By incorporating or using product attributes, that are also extracted in the feed, the site can be made more user-friendly and engaging. Visitors can select products by effectively answering series of questions, for example in fashion, by 'creating a look' using a slider bar to dictate price, size, colour, occasion etc.
Data feed technology may be relatively unknown outside of technical circles, but its commercial application in mobile is already delivering impressive results in terms of driving incremental revenue for many of the largest and well-known brands.
Barney Larkin is marketing manager at FusePump