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Mobile is the glue that holds channels together: Mcommerce Summit panelist

NEW YORK ? The explosion of mobile over the past few years has enabled brands to tap into the medium as a supplement to their other experiences, building a bridge between them using mobile marketing, according to a panelist at Mobile Commerce Daily's Mcommerce Summit.

Whether consumers are using mobile to find stores, buy or are coerced onto other channels, the medium is certainly helping to drive transactions not only through mobile commerce but in different media. However, mobile is becoming a driver for consumers to buy through other channels, not through the device.

?The number of transactions on mobile is stil very small, but one of the things we learned led us to extend to other areas,? said Dave Sikora, CEO of Digby, Austin, TX. ?Consumers look for products on mobile, but a lot of the searches were looking for directions to find the store.

?It?s really underscoring that mobile is not the extention of an ecommerce site, but it?s the multichannel glue that?s holding it all together,? he said. ?People are buying on mobile, but it?s much bigger than that.?

Working together
Mobile has grown dramatically even in the past three years. In doing so, it has helped marketers become more in-tune with what their customers want and how they behave.

Consumers now use mobile to learn about in-store deals, check information and products on an application or even check out brand competitors while they are already in a retail location.

?When ecommerce launched, everyone was very excited, but a lot of mistakes were made early on and we are making them again on mobile,? said Larry Freed, CEO of ForeSee, Ann Arbor, MI. ?The main problem was that they were thinking of the store and the Web as separate channels.

?However, one of the biggest roles that mobile plays is the companion channel,? he said.

It is time for brands to embrace the fact that mobile is part of a multichannel experience. Consumers need a seamless experience across all channels.

Loyalty matters
?The number of consumers shopping on apps while in-store is high.

?People shopping on their phones while browsing a physical store is high,? Mr. Freed said. ?More than that, they are looking at competitor?s prices and checking out other brands while they are doing so.?

Therefore, providing an environment on mobile is key to building loyalists.

Luxury brands, more than any other marketer, know the importance of building brand loyalists.

The trick to building loyalists is to build a relationship with brand consumers and engage them via mobile.

This can be done through tactics such as SMS that get consumers into store environments when they are nearby.

Brands can also offer a consistent environment through rich apps or optimized sites to give users a great experience while they are shopping in a physical location.

Consumers will be checking out products at other stores while they are already in a location, but it ultimately comes down to brand loyalty, according to Digby?s Mr. Sikora.

?I think that it ultimately comes down to loyalty and building really great experiences and to offer investment from the brands who are really looking to deepen engagement,? Mr. Sikora said.

?Mobile is a brand-new way to engage with consumers, and playing defense and offense simultaneously,? he said. ?The most important thing is delivering value and great user experiences.?