Push Science

Mobile: What not to measure

How’s your mobile solution doing? Great success or epic failure?  How does your organization even measure success or failure when it comes to mobile?

For many retailers, mobile is simply considered to be e-commerce on a smaller screen.  And I would guess that unless those retailers are eBay, the performance of their mobile initiatives might not be living up to expectations.

Retailers have long been accustomed to distinct distribution channels- in-store, online, direct mail order (i.e the multi-channel environment) – that can each be isolated and measured by well established metrics: total sales, sales/hour, conversion rates, basket sizes, etc.

Recently, however, the retail landscape has undergone a major metamorphosis. The age of “agile commerce” has arrived and each previously well-defined “channel” has now transformed into one-of-many customer “touch points”, with mobile clearly leading the way as the new touch point of choice.

The problem is that the traditional metrics for measuring retail success are predominantly based on transactions. And even though smartphones are widely used for shopping related activities, mobile is still very much in its infancy when it comes to transactions.  According to an April 2011 Google think insights report (PDF), of smartphone users who made a purchase as a result of using a smartphone while shopping, 76% still made the transaction in-store, 59% made an online purchase using a computer, while only 35% have made a transaction using their smartphone.

Retailers need to recognize that mobile presently serves to augment the shopping experience for customers, rather than to act as a new point of sale.  The numbers tell all: 2011 will see an estimated $6 Billion of mobile transactions (Forrester Mobile Commerce Forecast 2011), whereas mobile is estimated to influence $230 Billion of  total brick & mortar and online sales (Booz & Co, Shoppers on the Go).

Mobile’s true power lies in the influence that it has over all the other retail touch points and in the engagement it provides consumers. Consequently, when it comes to measuring the success of a mobile initiative, retailers need to start thinking about KPI’s that are better suited to reflect these roles. These metrics might include:

  • app downloads and installs
  • number of active users
  • time spent on app
  • user loyalty and recency of visits
  • push messaging metrics – open rates / actions taken
  • mobile offer redemption
  • barcode scans
  • user generated content

So retailers, don’t set your mobile initiative up for failure by measuring success with transaction-based metrics that don’t yet apply.  Recognize that ROI will come in different forms, and we are all just starting to learn how mobile’s influence will culminate in this new age of agile commerce.

On October 4th, we will be conducting a Webinar with NRF-ARTS on the 9 Keys for Mobile Retail Success, in which we cover the KPI’s and ROI of mobile retail, along with lots of other useful examples and tips. I highly recommend you sign up now.

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