We asked our CMO - Vanessa Meyer - what she thinks will be the big mobile marketing trends in 2017 and the next few years? How will those trends be different from what we've already seen? And what do digital marketers need to do to leverage those trends?
What will be the big mobile marketing trends in 2017 and the next few years?
1. M-commerce is about to reach a tipping point.
Millennials already use their mobile for the majority of their digital interactions and they are craving a seamless mobile shopping experience.
Unfortunately, the mobile shopping experience is still pretty terrible. Worse yet, there seems to be a chicken-and-egg situation going on: retailers aren’t seeing the ROI from mobile they expected and are struggling to get consumers to use their apps, and consumers aren’t satisfied with the retailer app experiences they’ve had thus far.
Most people spend 80% of their time within five mobile apps. For a retailer to consistently exist among those five is extremely difficult, therefore I suspect that the next few years will bring great advancements in user experience, primarily in three areas:
- mobile app/site speed - thanks to the adoption of Continuous Delivery principles, HTT2 and P2P CDNs like Greta.io,
- Payment processing - thanks to services like Klarna and Paypal
- Mobile product search - thanks to more sophisticated algorithms - like Loop54, and in UX design.
Although I’m still skeptical of the ability of Facebook, and to a lesser extent Pinterest, to really deliver on their commerce promises, I do see a trend for “content commerce” (a.k.a. Stoppable Media) - among more traditional media houses. Think buy-buttons embedded within the text of your favourite blog, online magazine, etc. that don't take you off-site and out of context.
Media companies - who have the engaging content and the audience - are disparate for new revenue sources and are investing in ways to bring e-commerce and m-commerce in the fold. This presents a great opportunity for retailers to position themselves in a much more positive light than ever before and facilitate m-commerce transactions within a context that makes sense to the consumer. Unfortunately, the transaction will take place outside the retailer’s environment - something that will likely pose a problem for mono-brand retailers who want to control the brand experience from end-to-end.
2. 'Web-rooming' is just as important as 'show-rooming' and mobile matters for both.
There are just as many consumers who want to browse at a store and purchase online (i.e. Show-rooming) as those who want to do the opposite (i.e. Web-rooming). With help of Virtual Reality, Geo-location targeting and iBeacons, mobile will play a very important role at many points throughout the buying process.
Most obviously, mobile will be the channel used to complete a transaction while enjoying a good 'show-rooming' - especially if that’s accompanied by a mobile coupon triggered by an iBeacon and the ability to use a mobile wallet. But it can also help with product discovery - directing an already on-the-go consumer to where they can both see the product they’ve discovered online, and purchase it.
The biggest hurdle for the 'web-rooming' is usability and user experience. If retailers thought product discovery was difficult before with desktop websites, smartphones pose a much greater challenge.
Exposing the full range of products a retailer carries in a relevant way on such a small screen and with much less time to do it is hard. Retailer need to collect and use extensive amounts of data to provide an integrated personalised shopping experience. Only then can the mobile app/site expose the user to a broad range of products without inundating them with irrelevant products that encourage app deletion or site abandonment.
How will those trends be different from what we've already seen?
I don’t think its different. We’re just making predictions on where on the Gartner Hype Cycle different trends are and will be over the next few years. We’ve already been talking about Virtual Reality, M-commerce, mobile wallets and iBeacons for a long time, but now these things are shifting from being over hyped and drawing scepticism into productive technologies. While Gartner thinks 'Shoppable Media' is still 5-10 years away from mainstream adoption, I think it will reach the market much sooner.
Fundamentally, I guess the biggest difference is the emphasis on M-commerce. This is driven by the numbers - 2016 saw incredible growth in mobile revenue. I don’t think we would be talking about it as much if it weren’t for those growth numbers.
And what do digital marketers need to do to leverage those trends?
Technology, technology, technology. It’s not about which technology per say, but rather that marketers get comfortable talking with their CTOs and technical counterparts. Marketers should represent the consumer and the market’s interest in every digital product or project their companies undertake.
Marketers shouldn’t sit in isolation thinking of ways to built awareness for their brands, but rather be involved in brainstorming ways new technology can help achieve their goals. Marketers should spend time educating themselves on the software product development process and the goals of UX design, they should be intimately familiar with what its takes in terms of time and effort to build a mobile app,, mobile optimised website, or implementing a CMS. In understanding what’s possible, they can help create the types of digital experiences customers will love.
Then of course its data. Marketers should spend time at the lowest level of data collection. They should be able to query a database to find out not only what types of data are collected, but also to extract the raw data they need. It’s not to say that marketers should spend all their time analysing data, but by getting down into the details and raw data they can unlock their creativity.
Prior to the world of big data, marketers often based their creative ideas on qualitative information. Today, the data tells a million different stories about each individual customers; stories that can often be overlooked by marketing teams that only rely on what’s given to them via dashboards or report.