The opportunity for retailers to expand their brand and increase sales with the help of mobile is infinite. The influence of mobile in the lives of nearly every consumer is only increasing, and in most cases, it is increasing at a shockingly high rate. The smart, innovative and forward thinking brands have already started to capitalize on these opportunities. J.C. Penney, in an effort to separate themselves from the herd has developed technology that leverages the advances in augmented reality in order to provide mobile shoppers with a “virtual fitting room”, where consumers can make adjustments on size or style with a simple swipe of their finger and get an idea of how the clothing would look on them. Many companies have also looked toward mobile in order to combat the oft-encountered problem of the cluttered store shelf. A viewfinder on ones phone could sift through hundreds of products in order to find the desired purchase. Imagine using your phone to highlight all of the gluten free or low sodium products on a grocery shelf. Gamification can also provide some fun during the sometimes-monotonous act of food, or supply shopping. The biggest opportunities however are presented by location and personalization. Despite what one may think or even say, there is a consumer willingness to both receive and act on personalized messages from retailers; the problem facing advertisers is often the quality or timing of these ads and messages.
In a Vibes Mobile consumer report conducted in 2013, 89% of respondents said they would sign up for messages from brands if they were personalized, while only 18% reported consistently seeing quality personalized ads from brands. According to those polled 60% thought personalized ads/messages that were tailored according to their preferences and interests (shopping categories, brands, sizes, etc.) were the most the most important aspect of personalized ads, 20% said timeliness was the key element (ads as they are ready to make a purchase in store or online), and 13% said location was key (as consumers are walking around the store or entering the store etc.). Location based ads present a unique and important opportunity. According to Business Insider, 770 million of the 1.2 billion smartphone devices worldwide are equipped with GPS and 1/3 of mobile searches made have a local intent. Business Insider also found that 94% of mobile users have at one time searched for local information. When it comes to both localization and personalization the key is quality, not quantity.
According to a study commissioned by Janrain, consumers are looking for website experiences more relevant to who they are and what they’re doing. However, when you’re trying to get personalized, which is the goal, you had better to get it right because advertising material they find misplaced or mismatched with their interests will drive their business away. 74% responded saying they were annoyed when content and ads appeared that didn’t fit their consumer profile. Consumers also want to be sure that their personal data will handled responsibly by brands. 57% responded that they were okay with providing personal information to a website if they thought it would benefit them and it was being used responsibly. 77% of respondents said they’d trust businesses more if they explained how their personal info was being used to improve their online experiences. Consumers in most cases are both ready and willing to trust and show loyalty to brands, but they are also not afraid to abandon brands when shown content that is irrelevant or upsetting to them, for example a political party ad they aren’t affiliated with. The message to retailers and advertisers is this, mobile is an excellent bridge to the consumer who is both ready to receive and share with brands, but this is also a sacred and personal space that must be treaded upon lightly if brands want both loyalty and conversions from ads to dollars.