The intersection of Social with Mobile is clearly something brands and companies are still trying to grapple with. While some have been pretty successful at figuring out how the two best intersect, there are many others that have yet to understand how to effectively integrate Social and Mobile into their business practices.
For 2012, here are some trends to keep in mind when crafting your strategies this year:
First came the desktop and the laptop, then came mobile and now the increasingly ubiquitous tablet. Each platform’s uniqueness must be taken into consideration when designing any campaign, site or app. Desktops and laptops have mice and touchpads, mobile phones have little screen space and tablets are used with taps and finger swipes. And what about Flash? How your strategy accounts for the different experiences of each platform will determine the success or failure of your campaigns. Failure to intelligently solve these problems will no doubt affect your brand’s consumer loyalty and ultimately your bottom line.
2. New Social Networks
It isn’t easy to keep up with the latest trends and the next ‘it’ channels and platforms. You may not want to overload yourself with the integration of every single new kid on the block, however, the last year has seen the rollout of some very useful and clearly ‘here to stay’ tools. Take Pinterest. The moodboard-like site debuted last summer and it has done what predecessor Delicious failed to do. A bookmarking site, retailers have already seen the benefits of engagement with consumers just by adding a ‘Pin It’ button to their products. When something like this comes along, you want to make sure you’re not left behind.
3. Location-Based Marketing
LBM is not new, however, what most retailers have yet to perfect is the use of LBM to better target the consumer. Consumers have a finite number of hours that can be spent per day on social networks, retail and news sites and gaming platforms. What we are seeing is a need for brands and companies to find a way to maximize their efforts by targeting not only groups of consumers but groups of consumers at specific times and specific locations. Offering consumers a digital coupon or deal while they’re browsing your retail shop or in the immediate vicinity is much more effective than blasting them an offer when they’re miles away at home or work. Consumers would have to really want that deal to make the trek out to your place of business to claim that deal.
4. Mobile Commerce
We’ve already mentioned tablets but let’s face it. Mobile is different and cannot be underscored enough. Most retailers have not yet fully optimized their mobile sites. It’s one thing to simplify a site for quick viewing on a mobile device and yet an entirely different animal to develop and design a fully functioning mobile site with all the elements a consumer truly needs to comfortably begin and end their transaction of your product. We didn’t say it was easy but do it we must. This year will see many more consumers making the switch from a regular phone to a smartphone. Don’t let your brand suffer at the hands of a less than amazing mobile shopping experience.
5. Mobile Payments
Related to, but independent of, Mobile Commerce, Mobile Payments are gaining traction. The future will see more and more consumers paying for products through their mobile phones. Rumour has it that the next iPhone will have Near Field Communications (NFC) technology built-in which could pave the way for a surge in consumers utilizing their mobile phones to pay for their purchases. My guess is that if Apple rolls out NFC capability, they won’t have too much trouble convincing retailers that this is something they need. Will 2012 see NFC or similar technologies become commonplace amongst consumers? Right now, the industry is still evolving but I’m willing to bet that consumers, though they may be slow to adopt the technology, will embrace it’s convenience once someone figures out how to capitalize on this.
6. Personalized Recommendations
Brands are getting better at understanding who their consumers are and what they like based on their past purchase patterns. Helloooo social tagging and NFC. Likes, Pin its and Favourites help to narrow down a consumer’s preferences. Amazon does a great job of showing me that people who bought the book I just bought also liked or purchased titles X, Y and Z. Here is where NFC technology can help brands and businesses better target their consumer base, improve the consumer’s overall experience of their brand and ultimately encourage loyalty.
Image from: mostmetro.com