Living in the Land of Opt In & Opt Out of Mobile Shopping

by Net Future Institute on April 22, 2013

To Chuck Martin

Some mobile shoppers opt in, others opt out. Then there is the group in the middle.

Two pieces of seemingly unrelated news this week got me thinking about what it will take for mobile consumers to more readily adopt commerce.

In the world of opting out, a new app called Ad Control was introduced that allows users to opt out of behavioral targeting by mobile networks. The general idea is to give consumers the ability to determine who doesn’t get to send them messages.

In the world of opting in, a new study by the IAB found that most (83%) of mobile users are aware that their bank has a mobile app, while a little more than half (58%) have used their bank’s app.

In both cases, the consumer has control over whether to join in or not. This begs the question of what it will take for more mobile consumers to participate in commerce.

There could be several factors, depending on the situation. These include:

Awareness. Consumers have to know about something if they’re expected to try it. As shown by the IAB study, marketers can effectively build awareness, in this case executed by the banking industry. Some of this will be by word of mouth or seeing other consumers do something, such as scanning a barcode in a store.

Benefit. What does the customer get out of doing this? If allowing specific tracking leads to substantial cost savings, loyalty points or some other perceived value, a number of consumers will allow and even welcome tracking.  One of the challenges in mobile payment adoption is creating a benefit that outweighs a simple credit card swipe.

Convenience. How easy is it to get and use? This is where features like the easy-to-respond-to SMS or MMS offers and the one-tap buy come in to play. The simple reduction of some friction in the purchasing process could be all it takes.

There already are both opt-in and opt-out types of mobile shoppers. The challenge for marketers is to tackle the mindset of the large group in the middle: the not-yet-opted.

What do you think it will take?

   Chuck Martin is editor of mCommerce Daily at MediaPost and writes the daily MobileShopTalk. He is author of “The Third Screen,” “The Smartphone Handbook,” and the soon-to-be-published “Mobile Influence.” He is CEO of Mobile Future Institute and a frequent mobile keynote speaker around the globe.

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