Keeping up with the mobile consumer

AT the rate mobile device usage has rapidly increased worldwide, it’s clear that mobile is more than just a device − it’s a lifestyle. And Malaysia is not exempted from this trend.

According to the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission, Malaysia’s mobile phone penetration rate, at 143.7% in 2014, is the country’s highest thus far. It is unsurprising then that Euromonitor has projected Malaysia’s e-commerce market to be worth US$560mil by 2016.

Online spending today has proliferated not just across devices, but also multiple platforms, going beyond mobile web to mobile apps. Aimed at growing the Internet-based retail market in Malaysia and providing integrated shopping experiences for mobile consumers, the government has introduced e-commerce initiatives, such as “virtual mall” projects in its Economic Transformation Programme (ETP).

With the mobile commerce industry being driven by the increasing number of mobile consumers, as well as the Malaysian government, there is no better time for retailers and advertisers to kick-start their mobile involvement.

Keen to jump on the mobile advertising bandwagon? Here are five simple tips for getting started:

1. Create a personalised experience

Consumers who feel like they are being treated as individuals tend to be more satisfied with their brand experience and are more inclined to remain loyal. When consumers see ads for products that are relevant to them, delivered at the right time on the right platform, they are more likely to buy the products and be retained as loyal customers.

For retailers, targeting their online ads at the right consumers ensures that their online advertising budgets are optimised. Creating a personalised experience for mobile audiences can be made simpler and more effective with a powerful analytics solution that consolidates customer data, allowing a retailer to tailor a personalised advertisement that caters to a customer’s needs and habits.

2. Engage mobile consumers through mobile apps

Consumers are progressively seeking an integrated shopping experience that includes digital channels. A recent regional study by PwC reported that shoppers are using their mobile devices to check prices and reviews while in-store, spending an average of 15 minutes online per brick-and-mortar store visit. The same study also revealed that consumers are even making purchases from unaffiliated mobile commerce apps while looking at same items along the isles of a brick-and-mortar store.

To avoid having their revenue “hijacked” by unaffiliated mobile commerce apps, retailers and advertisers must consider investing in their own brand apps that incorporate store mode. Store mode includes features such as dynamic store maps, the ability to display exact product locations, and the most efficient routes through the store to fulfil a shopping list. It also provides customer insights to retailers and delivers personalised content based on data accumulated from current purchase intents, past purchase behaviours, and the shopper’s location inside the store.

Retailers who develop apps with store mode see five times more customer engagement and increased sales. As brick-and-mortar meets mobile, engaging consumers both online and offline while they are in the process of making purchase decisions increases the possibility of consumers buying a product directly from the brand.

3. Reach out with real-time capabilities

With the average smartphone owner in South-East Asia spending more than three hours per day on their smartphones, toggling between chat apps, social networking, games and multimedia, retailers who are keen to keep up with their mobile consumers will benefit from having tools with real-time capabilities.

A tool with real-time capabilities makes use of predictive software algorithms that enable the tool to think and act on behalf of advertisers, intuitively featuring the most relevant product recommendations. Real-time advertising targets visitors immediately after they leave a brand’s website. This is done by delivering personalised performance display ads that infuse real-time data with online or in-app banner advertising spaces that have been purchased beforehand. Real-time capabilities enable marketers to reach out to a user while the brand is still top of mind.

4. Adopt an integrated approach

Historically, search marketing − the process of gaining traffic and visibility from search engines through both paid and unpaid efforts − has been the most reliable and cost-effective way for marketers to generate new customers and sales. However, 15 years of growth in the industry has created significant market saturation, where additional investment in search marketing often does not create enough return. Furthermore, consumers spend only 5% of their time online performing searches and only 13% of online users perform a shopping-related search query on any given day.

The emergence of personalised performance display advertising has provided marketers with a way to reach out to consumers even when they are not using search engines. Research commissioned by Criteo has shown that when performance display ads are combined with search marketing, the frequency of shopping-related search queries increases by 28%. For best results in increasing a mobile user’s exposure to a particular brand, advertising campaigns should be integrated and optimised for both search and display, across multiple mobile devices.

5. Create measurable and business-relevant outcomes

Apart from collecting information on a customer’s online browsing preferences, it is important for marketers to have processes that effectively evaluate the return of investment on advertising strategies. Top-line measurements alone, such as the number of impressions and clicks, cannot capture the full complexity of a customer’s pre-purchase behaviour. A global study by Fournaise reported that 58% of marketers only focus on “likes” and “clicks” when measuring the return of investment on their marketing spend. Marketers must also consider metrics that provide deeper insight, such as average order values and conversion rates.

Average order values and conversion rates enable marketers to segment a brand’s online customers into different categories based on how much they spend when they visit the site. With the right data analytics tools, marketers can examine their mobile advertising strategies at a granular level − whether their ads are attracting viewers, turning viewers into clickers and ultimately, converting them into customers.

With increasing mobile phone penetration and e-commerce initiatives spearheaded by the Government, the mobile commerce industry in Malaysia is set for unprecedented growth. There is no better time than now for retailers and advertisers to take advantage of the tremendous upsurge in mobile device usage and realise the opportunities this creates for mobile commerce.

Yuko Saito is MD of South-East Asia at Criteo, a leading global technology company that specialises in digital performance advertising.

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Business , Yuko Saito , Criteo , mobile advertising


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