How Publishers Can Win at Mobile Commerce: Inner Space Is the Key to Consumer Spending

Article excerpt

In the never-ending quest by marketers to put the right offer in front of the right consumer at precisely the right time, inner space is becoming the next frontier for too bile commerce--and a major opportunity for newspaper publishers.

Inner space is the precious geography inside a store, where marketers have their last, best chance to persuade consumers to buy what they are selling. Here's why inner space is fast becoming the most valuable territory in the door-die world of mobile marketing:

With more than half of mobile users equipped with a smartphone, a growing number of consumers are using their device to decide on purchases as they move through stores, checking product features, consulting reviews and, of course, comparing prices. In a recent survey (http:// www.localsearchstudy.com/local_search_study_2013.pdf), consulting companies Localeze and 15 Miles found that nearly a third of smartphone-packing shoppers use their phone at some point in the purchase process.

Well aware of this behavior, retailers ranging from Safeway to Home Depot have developed smartphone apps and loyalty programs that meticulously track consumers in order to target specific offers to them. This dynamic process depends on what we'll call the Three Ps:

1. PROFILING: Combining volunteered, purchased, and derived data, marketers are able to determine the age, gender, wealth, credit rating, education, marital status, address, and other demographic information about individuals. When customers use brand-issued credit cards and/ or join loyalty programs, the actionable data is even more granular and abundant.

2. PROSPECTING: Crunching the vast volumes of data they relentlessly compile, marketers are developing evermore sophisticated data-mining techniques to slice and dice consumer groups into ever-narrower segments. The segmentation information is used by brands to recruit future customers from groups of people who happen to match the demographics of the customers they already have.

3. PERSONALIZING: Analyzing past and prospective purchases (the latter captured by monitoring real-time clicks), marketers can learn what folks are likely to buy, when they are likely to buy, how to best pitch to them and, in some cases, even the most compelling prices or packages to offer. In the same way airlines sell seats at different prices as flight time approaches, it won't be long before brands dynamically customize coupons, pricing, and other incentives to tweak demand while maximizing profitability. …