Connecting with Enthralled Mobile Customers

Recently I sat down with Mike Cassidy, the storyteller at BloomReach in Silicon Valley. We had a great conversation about Mobile Ready, the shifting of the consumer mindset, and how you can use it to your advantage… Here's a look at our conversation. Enjoy, and don't forget to leave a comment and let me know what you think!

Mike: To start things off, could you talk a bit about the general premise of Mobile Ready?

Scott: Sure, I've spent all of this time consulting to organizations, and they're shifting towards digital and mobile. The book really is focused on shedding some light on the mistakes that many organizations make in this shift. A primary one, for example, is that they focus on the technology that's involved, rather than the experience.

The biggest impact is the consumer behavior piece. It really comes down in three key premises: Mobile is about context, behavior, and utility. You look at the consumer from any lens – if you can speak to those three premises, you'll go a long, long way, and you're actually building successful mobile ecosystems along the way.

Mike: Talk about that for a second, from the consumer's standpoint. How has this trend changed consumers? Do they have different expectations now? What is it that requires organizations to be cognizant of these things you're talking about?

Scott: What it actually is is playing into our instant gratification ego, in that we are so used to having the abundance of information around us, that we expect to have it, right now. The example I always give is you take Times Square in New York. You can be standing there and go, “I want chicken teriyaki right now.”

In old days, you would have had to either look up a directory or you might have had a travel guide, or you might have gone back to your desktop to actually find where something is. But now you can actually type in “chicken teriyaki” in Yelp or something, and there's instantaneous reviews on what's around you, what's available, even to the point where I can book a table, or maybe even order ahead of my arrival.

That's the kind of instant gratification and behavior what we're really playing to now. No one can hide behind the latency of information.

The flipside of this, which is a bit amazing and there's some bad examples, is it's pushing instant gratification so hard that we've seen scenarios like the recent Malaysian Airlines flight disaster, where our hunger for instant information outpaced actual information, to the point where everyone was scrutinizing the Malaysian authorities over lack of information.

Mike: Let me ask you this. The teriyaki example, by the way, now has me hungry, thanks a lot. I want my instant gratification. But big surprise, I've got a smart phone. I'm like everybody in the world, or many people in the world.

I'm not sure how well enterprises are handling this situation, because I don't want to have to type the words “chicken teriyaki” into a search bar, certainly, and I don't want to have to then take three more steps from there to find out where to go, and then maybe three or four more steps to actually order and purchase my chicken teriyaki. I want to be able to do that without driving myself crazy.

Scott: Some of the stuff that's coming out of Google today, which is really taking it up to the next level and getting rid of this process. There's some really cool stuff that has been demonstrated with the Samsung Gear Live, as well as some of the Google Now services.

It says, okay, no longer do I need to go into Yelp and type it in. I can literally just say to my phone, “Where's chicken teriyaki?” It'll come back with where it is, what's available, the price of it, the ratings, the rankings, has Mike been there, has Scott been there, very, very quickly. Again, it's the same thing.

Mike: Right, right. That makes sense. Obviously mobile's expanding. Nobody would argue that. It's going crazy in terms of consumer's usage and reliance on it, and yet it seems like, when it comes time to pull the trigger on a purchase something on, say, an e-commerce site or an m-commerce site, while that revenue's growing, it doesn't seem to be keeping the same sort of pace as the conventional traffic to those sites. People seem to be using mobile just for does that work going forward?

Scott: That's part of the truth, yes. Mobile is almost like an awareness tool today, so it's like, “I want to buy the latest Chromebook. Where can I find one?” “I want to buy chicken teriyaki, where can I find it?” It's just a basic search, or a contextual search. But one of the biggest challenges is that the people that actually provide commerce need to provide a fantastic mobile experience, and until we really build them, the volume's not going to be in there.

I still think the benchmark in the mobile commerce is Google. They're just so far ahead in experienced design and true understanding, that I'm surprised more people haven't tried to get close to them. They recognize exactly where you are, they know what you want to do, and what value to give you, as soon as you open the app.

Mike: Right, right. How important do you think it is for an enterprise who would normally be focused on a desktop search and experience versus a mobile one and they look at mobile and say, “Geeze, that's not a lot of my revenue. Why am I going to spend a lot of time and money on that?” What would you say to them about that?

Scott: One of the terms that I like and dislike is “omnichannel,” and the reason why I like the term is because -

Mike: I've got to stop you, I'm on a campaign to get rid of the word “omnichannel,” strike it from the English language, but go ahead.

Scott: I hate it as a term, but as a describer, I haven't yet found a better way. This is the same premise in the book. All of this has nothing to do with the technology. Mobile versus web versus physical retail should be irrelevant. It should be around if you have a good relationship with your consumer or your client, you know where they are, what they want to do, and what value you can add. Technology is just an enabler, as part of that.

One of the things that I struggle with is that more traditionally, particularly in the retail space, you spend a lot of time just cashing out to the Amazons and the eBays of the world. It's only recently that you see big brands, like Best Buy and Staples, that are really seeing some good results from online.

All of a sudden, now we're shifting to mobile. The example I always give with Best Buy is there was a lot of noise they made about people coming into their store and basically showrooming, looking at the latest TVs or products and then scanning the barcode. It's one of those things that they just haven't caught up with the behavior, is people are used to having instant gratification on the information.

If I'm looking for a television, which is a prioritized purchase, so I'm going to make the effort to physically see the television. Then I come back with all this information that I've got from the internet, whether that be desktop, tablet, or mobile. It enhances it, and brings my level of intelligence and awareness up to a whole new level. Yet it also means that I'm in the store and saying, “Okay, I want this model of Samsung TV,” and straightaway, go online to find “What's the best price?”

That's something that traditional guys are really struggling with, because they're still stuck in that – I say it's the 2.0 world, where we've moved from 1.0, which is just pure physical retail. 2.0 is static, and 3.0 is almost social, two-way, conversational, where it's a constant interaction of information and decision making. That's what we need to catch up to.

Mike: Yes, and I don't want to pile on to these retailers, because it is tough to figure out these different channels and how to work them all together.

But I think we also see where somebody misses the boat, they realize, but they don't take into account that someone who does that search at Best Buy and is maybe looking on their phone during the day, they might go home and fire up their laptop to make the actual purchase. When they get there, they're starting all over again. “Wait a minute, you don't know who I am. I was just looking at this on my mobile phone.”

Scott: Exactly, for example, I'm an ex-banker. One of the largest purchases you make in your entire life is your home. Yet, banks jam mortgage products down your throat every time, based on the lifestyle. Their idea is nobody in their life buys a mortgage. They buy a home. The experience of buying a home is bigger than just that tiny little part.

I saw some really great insights and data from Google just last year, around that Google knows, with 86 percent accuracy, six months in advance, that you're going to buy a home, because you start doing searches on maps. Where's the nearest school? Public transport? What's the crime rate there? - the simple things you would do, when you consider living somewhere. That's actually when the journey starts. It's not when you fill out the application for your mortgage. There's this whole thing where banks just miss the boat, and it's adding value before you walk through their front door.

Mike: I think that's actually a great analogy, and maybe a good place for us to wrap things up, so I can give you the rest of your day back. I've got to say, I really appreciate you taking the time and wish you a lot of luck with the book!

Scott: Yes, the Kindle and hardcover versions are available on Amazon now

Mike: Would you recommend people buy it on their smart phone, tablet, or desktop?

Scott: Well, it's a mobile-ready book, so I'm hoping they're going to buy it on their Kindle, their tablet, or their mobile.

Any questions or comments? Drop me a line!

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