Of all the chapters in this Holiday 2011 Run-Up, this might be the most important. Consumers are using smartphones today, right now, this exact minute. The data is undeniable and we're going to step through it and show you what the experts are saying and how you can use mobile technology yourself.
In the past 12 months we've heard many retail jewelry store owners tell us that "their customers do not use smartphones" and they don't need to create a mobile website even though those same jewelers themselves have an iPhone or an Android. This is similar to what we heard in 2003 when jewelers claimed their customers didn't use the internet and they didn't need a regular website.
We have our own in-house mobile research methods, and we've been tracking mobile usage for more than a few years, but to get a broader view of the mobile world we've reached out to other experts, examined Google's research, and even participated in a small Holiday Mobile Marketing Summit in NYC in September 2011. Let's dive in to what we found.
The first thing we want to do is understand the mentality of the smartphone user, and how important they are, so let's look at some data from the April 2011 Google/Ipsos Mobile Marketing Study. When asked to name all the places people use their smartphone, this is the list of the top 11 places:
93% say they use it at home
87% say they use it while on-the-go (e.g. commuting, walking)
77% say they use it in a store (for any reason)
73% say they use it in a restaurant (for any reason)
72% say they use it while at work.
66% say they use it at a social gathering/function
54% say they use it at a café or coffee shop
53% say they use it at a doctor's office
50% say they use it at an airport
33% say they use it while watching TV
22% say they use it while reading newspapers or magazines.
If you purchase TV commercials, you should make sure to include a website address in the ads. If your jewelry store's website is complicated, or has the potential for a misspelling, you should consider getting a more memorable or easier to type domain name. This gives smartphone users an easier time typing in your domain name while they are relaxing in front of the TV.
If you have newspaper or direct mail advertising you should include your mobile site's address, your normal website address, or simply a QR code in your advertising. "QR" stands for "Quick Response" and it refers to the quick method of taking a photo with a smartphone and instantly being taken to a website. It's much faster to take a picture than type a website address on smartphones without real keyboards.
To be a little more specific, the Google/Ipsos survey asked consumers to be a little more specific regarding the usage of smartphones. From that part of the survey, the following four types of activities were identified:
59% while waiting (in line at the market, doctor's office, bus, etc.)
44% while shopping, but not necessarily a shopping related activity
43% while traveling/commuting
39% while using the bathroom
That is a short list we've copied over from Google Think Insights, and it's during those types of activities that someone will see your mobile ad or engage you somehow on their smartphone. How are they engaging if not with a ring? In the same study, Google also shows that the most popular activities are checking and sending emails, using a social network, and reading news articles. All three of these are your marketing channels that should be tapped in to.
On a further quest to figure out what consumers are doing, other data presented by the Google/Ipsos study showed that when not specifically engaged in shopping, surveyed smartphone users reported:
77% use search engine websites
65% said they visit social networking sites
46% said they visit retail websites
43% said they visit video sharing websites
So you see, you need to recognize that your morning targeted emails will be read on a mobile device. Your Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ posts will then be read within "feeds" displayed on a smartphone. It all ties together nicely in the palm of someone's hand.
If you think your customers don't use the smartphone to look for you online, you're probably right – your customers probably don't – but your competitor's customers might. The truth is that any jeweler that believes their customers don't use the smartphones is likely correct, but if you spend all your time thinking about current customers you will probably miss the opportunities that will bring new customers.