In Part 1 of this series I discussed how a constantly connected mobile planet is producing unprecedented business opportunities while heralding a most unique innovation moment for today's marketers. Last week, in Part 2, I focused on the first of five innovation strategies—innovating brand engagement through mobile—and explored how mobile enables far deeper and much richer experiences for target audiences.
In the current segment, we move from engaging to selling—and on to the second innovation strategy: innovating sales channels through mobile.
As any marketer knows, sales are mission-critical to the success and survival of all companies. But what many a marketer doesn't yet fully understand is how many ways mobile can be wielded to stimulate sales... more so than via any other medium.
When e-commerce emerged in the '90s, it was positively exhilarating to have alternatives to brick-and-mortar shopping, as consumers were free to shop from the convenience of their homes through their PCs. Still, though convenient, e-commerce was confining because it required that buyers be connected to the Internet while seated at their stationary computers.
No longer. Now, through mobile, audiences literally carry a sales channel, replete with a payment mechanism, everywhere they go—24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 shopping days a year.
What is well understood by marketers is that mobile signifies a high-opportunity revenue channel as audiences are keen to purchase through their smartphones, whether with apps, such as the Starbucks app, or, soon, via the highly trumpeted mobile wallet. The revenue potential of m-commerce is crystal clear: It provides customers a convenient, anytime-anywhere way to shop (and it's already driving 20% of all e-commerce sales).
What is not clear to marketers, however, is how many ways they have for wielding mobile not just a payment method but as a sales channel—precisely where the myriad selling opportunities to innovate through mobile exist.
Marketers should not solely be viewing m-commerce and mobile payments (m-payments) as the totality of ways that mobile can innovate their sales channels. Rather, they should also be setting their sights on how mobile can be used as virtual sales assistants; as an outlet to inspire additional sales at, or near, the point of purchase; and as a way to transform existing places and activities into entirely new sales channels for brands.