Mobile retail, advertising: Now the big name brands are catching on

Retailers moving from ad hoc campaigns to greater things...
Written by Natasha Lomas, Contributor

Retailers moving from ad hoc campaigns to greater things...

Big name brands are coming round to the potential of sales and marketing on mobile devices, a new analyst report has found.

Major household brands are launching or extending mobile marketing campaigns, according to the report by analyst house Juniper Research - lured to the small screen by the potential for targeted and cost-effective ad campaigns.

"Retailers, merchants and brands are... becoming aware that the mobile device is being personalised more and more and therefore is becoming an opportunity for unique, individual personal marketing programmes," the Mobile Marketing & Retail Strategies report notes.

"The mobile channel offers merchants the opportunity to differentiate from their competition and acquire customers that become loyal."

The mobile retail market is evolving from one mainly consisting of mobile content providers, selling digital offerings such as ringtones, screensavers and games, to a richer ecosystem that draws in external companies selling goods and services beyond the mobile environment, according to Juniper.

Such companies typically start off experimenting with mobile marketing via makeshift campaigns but the analyst anticipates these first forays will lead on to greater involvement with mobile - a process driven by growing smartphone adoption.

"Once brands have successfully engaged in an initial ad hoc campaign, they will hopefully return for repeat advertising, which may for the first time enable direct purchase - via the mobile - of the marketed products," the report notes. "Lastly, having (again, hopefully) reaped sufficient benefits from repeat marketing, brands will then seek to make mobile part of their integrated multimedia/multiplatform."

Mobile marketing tech is also evolving, with a gradual but discernable shift from bulk SMS through banner advertising, to targeted advertising and even apps that enable direct retail, the report added.

Juniper cited the example of online supermarket Ocado as a UK brand using an integrated mobile marketing and direct sales approach through its Ocado on the Go iPhone app (see below). However, it added that the number of brands deploying this strategy is "still a small minority" at present.

mobile marketing and retail

The Ocado on the Go iPhone app
(Image credit: Ocado)

While this mobile retail market's revenues are currently dominated by coupons, Juniper said there will be a shift towards advertising as digital ad spend moves to mobile - with the bulk of the market's revenues derived from mobile advertising by 2013.

Smart posters, while growing faster than mobile coupons and advertising, will remain a comparatively niche market over the next four years - not even exceeding one per cent of the total market by 2014, the analyst added.

Juniper predicts mobile retail opportunities in coupons, smart posters and advertising will collectively create a market worth more than $12bn by 2014 - up from $4.1bn in 2009.

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