Mobile & Shopping

Yesterday at Mobile World Congress, a panel of marketers and tech leaders discussed the role of mobile in the retail shopping experience. A number of interesting thoughts and insights emerged from the lively discussion.

Danielle Lee of AT&T presented a project born of AT&T’s AdWorks. Under this program, AT&T customers can opt-in to receive special deals and promotions via SMS. Once a consumer confirms via SMS that they do indeed want to receive the messages, the AT&T network keeps track of where they are based on the cell towers their devices are talking to. When a customer enters a pre-defined geo-fence, the customer gets a text message containing a special deal.

Consumers can also log into their AT&T accounts and customize which brands/products they most care about. For those that have opted in, the program has been very well received and they enjoy getting deals delivered to them that are relevant.

Another location-based approach to mobile marketing was presented by David Katz of Groupon. He shared that a fill third of Groupon’s transactions are now coming from mobile. Beyond the classic flash sale experience that the company is famous for, it is evolving into a “Commerce Discovery Experience”. In their mobile app, they can plot Groupon deals on a map, populated in significant part by “evergreen” deals that are not time limited like their classic flash sales.

Response to this model has been very large. Mobile drove more than 40% of their sales on Black Friday.

Ambarish Mitra, the CEO of Blippar, discussed the potential of Augmented Reality in the shopping experience. As an example, he cited a very successful campaign for Heinz designed around consumers scanning bottles of ketchup in the store. The Augmented Reality experience generated by the Blippar app presented consumers with recipes and videos. The campaign captured over 219,000 unique consumers who scanned bottles in stores and they interacted with the experience over 475,000 times.

A forecast that was very interesting to ponder came from Sandra Alzetta of Visa. She predicted that by 2020, 50% of Visa’s volume would come from mobile.

It’s stories like the ones offered during this session and the last statistic in particular that helps explain why mobile payments and mobile retail experiences are such hot topics at Mobile World Congress this year.