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Mobile Marketing: The Next Battleground for Retail Automation Suppliers

Retail Automation suppliers preparing for NRF’s 100th Annual Convention & EXPO are working with VDC to position their products and services for this key event.  One topic has dominated many of these conversations: mobile marketing. 

Today’s consumers have access to more information than ever about the products and services they intend to buy, and mobile devices are increasingly delivering this information at the point of decision. 

Translation: smart phones with embedded scanning capabilities present unique challenges and opportunities for technology suppliers, integrators, brand owners and retailers alike.  

The promise of mobile marketing is well understood.  Consumers will increasingly have the capability to access information about the products and services they are considering purchasing via their mobile phones.  These devices will in-turn become a platform for coupon redemption, brand re-enforcement, and when managed holistically, will become a key consideration in the multi-channel marketing and CRM initiatives of retailers and their trading partners. 

The reality of applying mobile marketing is not so well understood.  While the promise of the technology is fairly easy to grasp, significant technical and commercial hurdles remain for each stakeholder community in the mobile marketing arena.

Any early adopter who has downloaded assisted shopping applications and tried to put them to work has experienced first hand many of these shortcomings.  Scanning accuracy/reliability, logo recognition, content formatting/delivery and coupon redemption are by no means “solid state”.  But the stakes are high, and application developers are working feverishly with mobile and POS device manufacturers, all investing tall dollars in an effort to develop this opportunity.  Although ROI is unclear, many operators are bought into the possibility of first mover advantage.

We’ve seen a short list of developers who are taking a holistic approach to their mobile marketing suites.  One of these developers, Augme Technologies, stands out for us because of the time and attention they have given to each step in the mobile marketing process.  Augme’s comprehensive web-based marketing platform provides marketers, brands and advertising agencies the means to create, deliver, manage and track mobile interactive marketing campaigns. 

Augme stands out because they have effectively addressed each step in the mobile marketing process, creating an end-to-end platform.  Further, their utilization of ScanLife’s content formatting and device detection technologies enable content to be instantly formatted for all common devices and operating systems.  What does this mean?  Improved time to market, reduced integration complexity, and clearly defined ROI models that support multiple stakeholders.  Neither Augme nor ScanLife are VDC clients.  We offer them as examples of thought-leading developers who are thinking holistically about mobile marketing, its application and promise. 

And that promise is becoming too compelling to avoid.  ScanLife will be offered on more than eight million phones by the end of the year, and another 15 million reader downloads are anticipated.  How is your company thinking about mobile devices and the probable impact they will have on retailing in the years ahead?  How are you scaling your investments in product, channel and market development to secure your place at the table?  Please post a comment and share your perspective with us!

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