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A recipe for mobile success

Monday April 16 2012

As mobile commerce grows in popularity, mobile advertising expert Dr KF Lai shares his knowledge and findings to help retailers succeed with m-commerce

As mobile commerce grows in popularity, mobile advertising expert Dr KF Lai shares his knowledge and findings to help retailers succeed with m-commerce


Mobile commerce and how to pay for it has been a hot topic for some time now – Dr KF Lai, chief executive of global mobile media company BuzzCity said we have already seen announcements from Pingit, PayPal and Visa and we will undoubtedly see more in the coming months.


The increasing frequency of announcements from well-known brands reflects the growing appetite for mobile payments from consumers. Lai said BuzzCity’s recent mobile commerce and payments survey found several countries were well on their way to full scale m-commerce adoption, including Kenya (39%) and Saudi Arabia (32%). However the UK was at the other end of the scale, falling into the bottom three with only 19% of users already using their mobile for shopping.


Refine target retail audience


Lai asked: “So where can brands begin? As with all campaigns, knowing your target audience is key. When it comes to mobile payments it is important that brands realise the changing demographics. While it's true that most mobile surfers are male (nearly three-quarters of the respondents in our survey), this statistic is deceptive. There are nearly as many women as men using the mobile web in the UK (49%), Thailand (43%) and South Africa (40%). Women also make up one-third of mobile surfers in a number of other markets, including France, Germany, Mexico, Philippines, Saudi Arabia and the US.


“Similarly, there is a perception that mobile growth is driven by young users. Of course, there's a grain of truth here – under-20s are still the biggest market segment (28%). But over-35s account for a fifth of all users in a number of key markets, including France, Germany, Malaysia, Poland, South Africa, UK and the US. And more importantly, the influence of these older users is disproportionately high when mobile purchases are taken into account. In France, for example, over-35s comprise 30% of the market, yet account for over two-thirds of gadgets purchased via mobile.”


Maximising the sales opportunity


So where are the opportunities for retailers? Lai said: “Initially retailers should consider how a mobile campaign can fit within their offline strategy. While adoption of mobile is increasing, many consumers still prefer to make payments in person. To bridge this gap, why not offer mobile coupons or loyalty programmes that can be presented for redemption in a physical store?


“To supplement this, brands can then provide more product information online. We have found that consumers particularly like product review sites, comparison shopping services as well as discount sites and coupon services. is just one brand that has successfully taken its offering mobile. ran mobile ads in three European countries to promote its mobile website and ‘welcome rewards’ campaign and as a result saw an increase in mobile web traffic. Brands such as could improve their campaigns further by implementing tracking and creating a more unified message across all media.”


Finally, Lai said that, when consumers begin to make mobile purchases, brands need to consider the whole lifecycle of mobile and provide post-purchase tracking services. Banks and merchants also have a key role to play here to reassure their clients about the safety of mobile transactions by using SMS notifications and enabling balance inquiries.


“The growth in mobile commerce is hardly a surprise as consumers are increasingly looking for convenience around every corner. This is reflected in the expected increase (97%) in mobile transactions over next three years recently reported by KPMG. So, while brands are showing increasing optimism when it comes to mobile payments, this needs to be turned into action to take advantage of all that mobile payments have to offer,” concluded Lai.