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Understanding the Mobile Consumer

Mobile consumers are shaping the next generation of commerce. But what do they really want? SAP’s Mobile Consumer Survey reveals the answer.

We’re living in a mobile-centric world. When you think of the slim, sleek devices we use to communicate and entertain ourselves today, it’s hard to believe that the first mobile phone call 40 years ago was placed on a device that weighed over one kilo and took ten hours to charge on a battery that gave you less than 30 minutes of talk time. But from that first glorious moment, one thing was clear: the way ahead was mobile. Along with the wheel and the Web, few other inventions have had more impact on the way we live, work, and play, because these are the ones that give us the ability to move freely – both physically and mentally.

Today, 63% of mobile consumers rely on their phones to help manage their lifestyles, 46% access the internet via mobile devices daily, and there’s been a 62% increase in the use of mobile phones for activities other than calls and texting. Just what exactly are people using these devices for? Reading books and newspapers, entertainment including sports, games and videos, education, navigation, correspondence, information searches, shopping, and paying bills are all part of the standard mobile user experience. Already 27% of mobile users purchase products or services online, and 80% say they want to buy more on their mobile devices. The only things stopping them right now are some safety concerns, the need to enter lots of information to complete a purchase, and lack of Internet connection. Once these issues are addressed, we’ll be well on our way to living in a totally mobile world of commerce.

These are some of the key results of the Mobile Consumer Survey conducted recently by SAP to better understand mobile momentum across the globe and help inform CMO decision making. Mobile usage has created such a radical shift in how consumers and businesses interact with each other that digital marketers must have a deep understanding of how consumers use their devices. That’s the only way they can develop mobile marketing strategies that deliver the right experience to each mobile user.

Appetite for different mobile services and applications varies dramatically by region and by activity. Cultural, economic, and technology factors all play a role in consumer preferences and how people shop, spend, and surf. For example, 96% of mobile phone users in countries such as South Africa and India express a desire to buy more goods and services on their phones versus only 59% in mature markets such as the U.S., Germany, and Japan.

Customers want service over technological sophistication

One thing that should be on the radar of any retailer or service provider seeking to tap into this massive gold mine of mobile opportunity is that consumers will be increasingly influenced by service excellence over technology sophistication. As the level of device sophistication becomes commonplace, the sophistication of consumer needs and expectations rises. The mobile consumer is a powerful force: eighty percent agree that organizations should use any technology to make life easier for their customers, and more than half say they would switch service providers to get better interaction on their mobile phones. This puts quite a bit of pressure on the marketing and operational infrastructure of any bank or business engaged in mobile commerce.

Luckily, there are tools that can help service providers, banks, and retailers drive revenue growth and inspire consumer loyalty.  When the Québécois mass transit system Société de Transport de Montréal (STM) needed to increase ridership, the marketing team came up with a clever way to engage customers that gives them more compelling reasons to use public transport. They decided to use the SAP Precision Marketing app to connect several hundred retailers and other venues to their customers in real time, using mobile and in-memory computing to deliver compelling, personalized offers. STM commuters who sign up for the loyalty program get real-time info and offers about products and services personally relevant to them, based on their profile and location. This is a win-win situation for both retailers and service providers near the subway stations and bus stops – and, of course, for people who can save time and money by incorporating shopping in their commute.

The mobile consumer is a force to be reckoned in more ways than just commerce. In his recent blog about the modern day gold rush of mobile opportunities, Anthony Reynolds, worldwide head of Mobile Sales and Solutions at SAP AG, reminds us that mobile consumers are also employees who are bringing their devices to work. Not only does this require secure enterprise BYOD management programs, but employees expect to have the same capabilities, ease of use, and simplicity for taking care of work tasks as they do in their personal engagement. “The consumerization of IT is driving enterprise decisions,” says Reynolds. “People want user interfaces that make it easy to interact with systems.” Products like SAP Work Manager by Syclo and SAP Fiori Apps for simple self-service tasks enable employees to work effectively without being hampered by technology.

Mobile consumer is the next generation of commerce

Yes, the mobile consumer is shaping the world. Or rather, we are shaping the world, because the mobile consumer is you, me, and every other person with one of those sleek, little devices that rule our lives. Collectively, we’re creating the next generation of commerce!

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