Engaging Customers in the Mobile Space
Gary Edwards

Empowered by a sophisticated array of mobile technologies, ordinary people can now become instant stars on YouTube or create messages that go viral in a matter of minutes, distributed by a new generation of constantly connected mobile consumers.The speed at which consumers digest information, the types of information they expect to receive and the channels through which they expect to receive it are all shifting. As a result, brands need to learn how to adapt to the pace and expectations of today’s mobile-powered marketplace or risk losing their connection to growing numbers of consumers.

The Mobile Reality

More than ever, consumers are using mobile technology as a decision-making tool during in-store shopping experiences. According to the latest Empathica research, 55 percent of smartphone owners perform mobile price checks and 34 percent use their mobile devices to scan QR codes while in-store.

Significantly, one in ten smartphone owners have written a review on a website or social media platform in the midst of an in-store shopping experience, pointing to the important relationship between mobile and social technologies. Research shows that an impressive three out of four consumers have used Facebook to make retail or restaurant decisions, and one in two consumers are willing to try a new brand based on a recommendation they receive via a social media site.

As consumers rely on mobile technology to achieve an ever-widening range of in-store activities, including the solicitation of real-time recommendations from social media networks), it’s becoming critical for brands to find new ways to incorporate mobile opportunities into customer and guest experiences.

Mobile Engagement: Tips & Strategies

Industry leaders aren’t taking a wait-and-see approach when it comes to mobile engagement—they are proactively devising and implementing strategies that improve their ability to connect with customers or guests in the mobile space.

Although mobile tactics vary according to each organization’s unique needs and objectives, there are several tools and technologies that most brands can use to improve their mobile engagement strategy.

1. Transparency
Transparency is a core element of successful mobile engagement. Customers want brands to share feedback with them in the form of customer reviews, rating scores and even branded message boards that have been designed for mobile accessibility. Although some brands are hesitant to post all feedback online, the credibility a brand gains from mobile transparency far exceeds the amount of damage that is inflicted by the occasional negative comment.

2. Reputation Management
Reputation management is a top-level priority for brands that compete in the social media space. In many cases, brand advocacy programs are reshaping conversations and forcing companies to consider the reputational influence customers bring to the table. By actively encouraging customers to review and recommend products/services via social media, brands can reinforce customer loyalty and nurture organic marketing growth. Since large numbers of consumers access social media on mobile devices, the inclusion of reputation management in a brand’s mobile engagement strategy can significantly improve its ability to influence consumer decision-making.

3. Branded Apps
Branded mobile apps give consumers control over brand engagements. A carefully crafted app lets consumers view information at their leisure and on their own terms rather than through push advertising. With a branded app, businesses can distribute the same information in a less intrusive manner. This creates new opportunities for the delivery of highly personalized information like account or reward status, resulting in a tailored customer experience that transcends the experiences available through traditional advertising channels.

For years, both consumers and brands have feared that an increased reliance on technology would inevitably create barriers in human interactions and remove the human element from brand engagement. Today, forward-thinking brands are using mobile technology to create more personalized and more human customer engagement experiences for shoppers to forge stronger relationships across key demographic groups.

Gary Edwards is Chief Customer Officer of Empathica. He is responsible for oversight of sales, marketing, client strategy, marketing science and retail insights. Gary has served a key leadership role during program development, implementation, and follow-up with clients for the past eight years at Empathica. His prior experience includes serving as a Senior Vice President at Maritz: Thompson Lightstone and an account executive in the then newly formed Financial Services Research Group.