Showrooming stats

I just wanted to share some mind blowing stats from the Get Elastic post on showrooming.

71% of US mobile users own smartphones, and 81% of them use their devices in-store.

92% of consumers who showroom have used Amazon to compare prices, compared to 84% who’ve used Google, and 77% that use price comparison sites.

50% of male and 42% of female consumers who showroom are members of Amazon Prime.

67% of showroomers will buy from a physical store over Amazon when the store matches Amazon’s price with a rebate.

73% of consumers expect a retailer’s online pricing to be the same in-store, and 61% expect online promotions to be the same in-store — yet only 16% of top global retailers have price parity, and 73% offer the same promotions.

Amazon changes prices every 10 minutes on average.

41% of customers who showroom end up buying elsewhere.

Mobile strategy

A client asked for some help fleshing out their mobile strategy and in my research I found some interesting statistics and cautionary tales I’d like to share.

KPIs: if you’re selling something through a mobile eCommerce store, orders and revenue are clearly the metrics of choice. If you’re looking to collect user data, successful completion of the form is your goal. But for advertising campaigns, it’s a little trickier. The standard metric is click through rates (CTR) meaning, of those users who saw the ad, what percentage clicked it? Well, guess what? It’s estimated that 50% of mobile ad clicks are accidental. I know that seems like a lot until you think about it. Small screens and big fingers and no physical object defined to tap are perfect for accidental tapping. Then there’s the baby sitter factor. Since an iPad or iPhone is now a common plaything for toddlers and children of all ages, how many of them are stabbing their little fingers onto things they don’t even understand? Better mobile ad metrics, if you don’t have a clear cut sale or form registration to rely on, would be time on site and bounce rate. You also might want to intentionally build in a second step to your mobile landing page so step 1 is clicking the ad, step 2 is hitting the landing page where the value proposition is reinforced, step 3 is tapping through to the meat of the content and step 3 is your success metric for that ad that was seen in step 1.

Platform segmenting: Android and iOS users are not the same. Not even close. You need to break them out and figure out what works for each audience. There are 18% more users aged 18 to 24 on iOS devices. 39% of Android users make less than $50,000/year vs. 23% for iOS users. iOS users are 35% more likely than Android users to engage in m-commerce. iOS users engage in all activity more on their devices vs Android from the banal like checking weather to the more sophisticated tasks like mobile banking.

Browser segmenting: Safari market share is dropping while Chrome’s is rising and Android browser usage has remained steady in the last year. No other browsers matter in mobile. This infers that iOS users are switching to Chrome. Now who would do that? Safari works fine. The younger, techy and likely high earners is who. I bet if you took a sample of users on Chrome and iOS you’d find an audience much more willing and able to complete a task on a smartphone.

Location segmenting: location matters, yes, but in densely populated areas it matters less. First you want to target urban users because they have the data networks to make mobile a pleasant experience and a handful of urban areas control a huge amount of GDP

However, there’s a lot of demographic variety. Imagine if you will a Google exec hailing a cab on 14th Street in Manhattan. To the location servers the cabbie behind the wheel and the Google exec in the back seat look like the same prospect, but clearly, they are very different in terms of comfort with technology and earnings. However, if you then took all the people in that high earning zip code, targeted just iOS users and users on Chrome you would stand a much greater chance of getting to that Google exec who is your target audience.

Smart phones, dumb companies.

I first heard about mobile phone payment systems in 1999 and incorporated this “technology of the future” into a business plan for a start up I was consulting for. That was 12 years ago and while I can do some mind boggling things with my smart phone I still can’t buy a mind scrambling double scotch with it (on second thought, maybe this is a good thing).

Why? It seems completely natural that Google or Microsoft should have jumped on this technology years ago and pushed hard for general adoption.

Just in case they haven’t realized it I’ll build the business case for these titans. Google, Microsoft, listen up because this is going to be far more valuable than some of your other ideas. Ahem, don’t make me mention the words Zune and Google Wave, OK?

You should do this because:

  1. You’re both now in the mobile phone business. Well, Google certainly is, Microsoft, not so much.
  2. You’re both in the search business. Well, Google certainly is, Microsoft, not so much.
  3. Your companies know what I search for, what’s in my Gmail or Hotmail account and what sites I visit. You know what I buy online but you don’t know what I buy in real brick and mortar stores. With mobile payments you’ll have that data and can target me more precisely than a Delta force sniper half a click out in a ghillie suit.
  4. You could steal Visa’s, Amex’s and Discover’s (titter) lunch. Which, in Discover’s case, is not so much lunch but more like one of those cheese and cracker packs with the red plastic spreading knife. But Visa in Q4 of 2010 did over $2 billion in revenue and has a 40% profit margin. That’s not lunch, that’s a 12 course meal at Delmonico’s.
  5. You have more cash than God. This is tip the valet money to you.

But how to change hearts and minds of consumers and retailers alike? Mobile phone payments sound scary.

For the retailer:

  1. Offer the hardware for free.
  2. Offer no transaction fees for the first 6 months. Retailers HATE credit card transaction fees. Note all those (mostly illegal) hand printed signs saying “Credit Card Minimum $20” slapdashedly taped to the side of cash registers.
  3. Great demographics. Who owns smart phones? The rich and the young. The customers you crave.
  4. Geolocation targeting of customers. “Benny’s Donuts is 2 blocks away, all bear claws are 10% off for the next 2 hours.”
  5. Easy to manage and highly effective loyalty programs. “Buy 5 bear claws with your mobile phone and get the 6th for free.”

For the consumer:

  1. Geolocation targeting of customers. “Benny’s Donuts is 2 blocks away, all bear claws are 10% off for the next 2 hours.”
  2. Easy to manage and highly effective loyalty programs. “Buy 5 bear claws with your mobile phone and get the 6th for free.”
  3. Rock hard security with biometric payment approval. A fingerprint or face recognition is required to process the payment.

The benefits for all players are so stupendous there must be some barrier to making this happen that I don’t know about. I mean, if Microsoft can come up with Clippy and Google can create Buzz, well, they must be working on this late at night.

QR needs higher marketing IQ.

I was on a bus to New Jersey recently and as we exited the Lincoln Tunnel I noticed a highway billboard that could really only be seen from the highway with a QR code on it. Take a moment and think how absurd that is. You are barreling out of Manhattan at 40 miles an hour about to negotiate a corkscrew turn in heavy traffic and somehow you’re supposed to take out your phone, launch your QR code app and snap a picture in less than a second?

I see QR codes on subway posters. Ummm, no data connection underground, remember?

I see QR codes on bus ads. Not inside the bus, but on the outside of the bus. That’s fine if the bus is pulled up to the curb, stopped and picking up passengers and the ad is on the right (curb) side of the bus, but no campaign should contain so many “ifs”.

This is typical “we should do it because everyone is doing it” marketing mentality that is really quite shameful. As marketers we’re limited by budgets, sure, but we shouldn’t be limited by creativity and thoughtfulness. Because not only is the placement of these QR codes utterly worthless, most of them link to the company .com homepage which is not optimized for mobile devices. I don’t know about you, but I am not pinching to resize a site on my iPhone for minutes on end to get a marketing message.

I passed a window treatment for real estate listings a while back and one of the listings caught my eye. It had a QR code and I thought this would be a good use of QR codes if done properly. You could really make an apartment or townhouse come alive with video or virtual tours. The first listing’s QR code I tried brought up a page not found error. The next listing’s QR code linked to the real estate company’s home page which was not optimized for mobile devices. The third did link to the property listing page but it again was not optimized for mobile and it contained no additional information than the 8×10 glossy card display in the window. Pointless, completely pointless. Well, it did achieve one goal: it frustrated the bejeezus out of a potential customer.

Only partially tongue in cheek suggestion to Starbucks

For New Yorkers a Starbucks public bathroom was a much appreciated relief oasis in a desolate desert filled with “Restroom for customers only” signs. Of course, in New York as on the internet once something becomes common knowledge to the unwashed masses (craigslist, myspace) the quality goes right into the toilet (pun intended). So Starbucks has suspended their open bathroom policy which was previously a great way to get foot traffic in the door. A sad day for cross-legged and squinting New Yorkers but understandable given the antics that were going on in their establishments. But not all is lost, perhaps this is a new marketing opportunity?

In loyalty marketing there are two types of customer benefits: hard and soft. Hard benefits are quantifiable – think coupons. Soft benefits and more esoteric and psychological and meant to build warm and fuzzy branding feelings – think a customized card on your birthday. Sure, lots of retailers have mobile apps and the hard benefits are there to instill loyalty: discounts mostly. But what about a mobile app that had a soft benefit of epic proportions to the on-the-go New Yorker: it opens bathroom doors.

I personally hate Starbucks coffee: bitter and thin I find it. I think I’ve purchased 5 cups in the 15 plus years I’ve been exposed to the brand. Given their sales and ubiquity I’m clearly in the minority. But if their app could open bathroom doors it would be the very first app I would download when I get my Christmas present to myself: the iPhone 4s. It might soften my opinion, maybe get me to try one of those ridiculously overpriced double half skim whatever foamy fru fru drinks I’ve previously managed to successfully live my life without.

You listening Starbucks? Here’s how it works. You install those 4 number code push button locks on your bathroom doors. In the app, in addition to the announcements about new drinks and coupons and all that stuff that everyone already does, you have a section that lists the 4 digit codes to the bathroom locks. Of course, it’s geo-location driven so just push a button and the app tells you the code for your current Starbucks location. And maybe you don’t allow that feature to work unless push notifications is enabled in your settings allowing for greater app value?