Monthly Archives: November 2013

Growth and development of mobile commerce

With roughly one billion cell phone users worldwide, the mobile commerce industry hopes that consumers are open to innovation in cell phone usage. Technology is only one part of the challenge. Marketers must understand customer wants and create relevant value propositions in the context of customer behaviour and willingness to change. Wal-mart’s global head of mobile mentioned that “the future of retailing is the history of retailing, of a personalized interactive experience for every customer delivered through a smartphone”. In-store buying influenced by mobile use was on track to be about twice as big as e-commerce sales by 2016.

On the other hand, some pitfalls of mobile commerce are that it annoys consumers who are not similar in behaviour. While many mobile carriers provide users with shortcuts that allow them to access Web content and services, these kinds of simplifications are still evolving. There are also security problems such as being able to eavesdrop on data transmission lines, and being able to steal mobile property.

One of my favourite examples is from eBay, as it has constantly updated its iPhone Application with new sharing and personalized features that highlight their ambitions to facilitate the shopping experience. They have a new “free in-store pickup” feature intended to drive sales for merchants. They also include new social features that place eBay in more direct competition with mass merchants and retailers. They are catering to their target market – the busy holiday shopper.

This is an example of a page on the eBay app showing which Best Buy stores a product is available at

It has been developing apps in alignment with the holiday season to allow customers to share gift ideas. It enables the ability to pull in a user’s personalized feed directly into the homepage of the app, helping customers discover new items based on their preferences.

It rolled out a new tool to the app that Pinterest began offering earlier this year. Customers can share items directly to Pinterest boards from the app. Customers can swipe through images from the ‘View Item’ screen, and there are new features for sellers to streamline the process of listing items online to ease their shopping experience.

eBay has been constantly improving its ‘View Item’ app

As mentioned in class, there are so many new implications for mobile, multi-channel and integrated campaigns. Synchronizing multiple parallel devices is an important aim. eBay will continue to implement deeper integration with applications, the customer decision journey is also relevant here.

Consumer Decision Journey: an updated feedback loop

The proliferation of mobile commerce services and applications requires marketers to find new ways to get brands included in initial-consideration set that consumers develop as they begin their decision journey. Furthermore, the shift from one-way communication (marketers to consumers) to two-way conversation needs more systematic way to satisfy consumer demands and manage WoM. Mobile applications entail 2 different types of consumer loyalty , the challenge to reinvigorate loyalty programs and the way they manage the customer experience. It is important to align all elements of marketing & journey that consumers undertake and integrating those elements across organization, to ensure direct spending and messaging to moments of maximum influence.

This is a video illustrating eBay’s position within the mobile e-commerce space, the eBay Mobile Commerce component is a dynamic infographic application allowing users to explore a variety of targeted mobile transactions over one year. YouTube Preview Image



Apple: Energizing its Community

The vibrant Apple community exists as it clearly articulates a belief system that attracts Apple fanatics with common interest and beliefs. This is the primal code (7 pieces of code).

1. Creation Story – Apple’s origin story continues to inspire followers.

2. Creed – Shared vision, values, reason. Their core operating principle is to think different.

3. Symbols. The apply icon is easily identifiable and iconic. It is incorporated within product design and packaging, offers users the Apple experience. Apple includes social icons such as Ghandi, Muhammed Ali, John Lennon and Yoko Ono

4. Sacred words. Specialized product vocabulary and hierarchy

5. Rituals – community in motion. For instance, stores feature the “genius bar”

6. Nonbelievers- countertrend. There are people who would never be part of the Apple community.

7. Leader – Steve Jobs was the iconic leader who recreated the world

Apple’s innovative website featuring their latest products

To integrate customers into the Apple experience, I strongly encourage further applying the Energize-Support-Embracing framework.

Energizing – Apple should continue to get their customers to evangelize products by encouraging online discussion and fuelling their passion for the latest products. It even had a product evangelism campaign in 1983 to promote the development of software programs for the Mac.

Supporting – A “Think Different” campaign would be fascinating and encourage customers to help troubleshoot each other’s problems, employee development programs to encourage customers to ask questions

Embracing – Apple could include fans in design campaigns and and improving product and promotional processes

RaDaR Framework enables companies to look at the way their customers look at products – ongoing sequence of reach channels, depth channels and relationship channels

Reach channels – get Apple into the consideration set. Word-of-mouth through avid fans and branded searches followed by branded searches (traditional channels like creative iPod TV ads and in-store displays)

Depth channels – Apple website which features the latest product, the in-store environment and salespeople and their committed salesteam offering personalized advice to guide customers to a purchase

Relationship channels – serve the interested Apple community via mailing lists or follow them in social media are existing and satisfied customers. It sends out satisfaction surveys to gauge customers’ in-store experience. It is important to constantly stay in touch with biggest fans.

Reach channels

These are channels in which Apple can continue to keep in touch with its customers.

In essence, Apple is doing a great job building a social brand community, but needs to improve on its retail store environments. It should continue to meet these criteria along the 4 dimensions of people, process, culture and technology. Value is created in 3 different ways: user-to-user, administrator-to-user and user-to-administrator. Apple has been doing a great job of innovating and rolling out new versions of existing products – experimentation and learning are key to successful development of online communities: needs and expectations of users evolve over time.