Yesterday in my blog post about Costco going mobile I announced that I intend to make at least one holiday purchase using my mobile phone this season. I’m wondering how many of you will be doing the same.
Next week on the next episode of The Mobile Marketing Review, the other mobile mavens and I will be discussing mobile commerce. I will be announcing the results of this poll during that podcast.
The first 100 people who answer it will have their results tallied. After that, you will need to vote in the comments.
So, what do you think?
Two of my favorite things in the world have come together – Costco and mobile. And I am so happy to share all the ways that Costco is doing mobile right and a couple things I wish they would do differently.
First, I was alerted to the new Costco mobile strategy when I read my November 2010 issue of Costco Connection, their excellent member magazine. That is actually the first thing they did right was have an excellent magazine that is worth members’ time to read. In the article titled Beaming up to Costco.com, David Wright announced that Costco now has a mobile-friendly website and an SMS campaign. They have apps for iPhone, Blackberry and Android phones coming soon.
Obviously, the first thing Costco is doing right is getting mobilized. It is time for smart businesses to be on board with mobile.
I am so glad they did the mobile web first and are launching apps later. Any smart phone can get on the mobile web. By going with the mobile web first they opened Costco.com for all smart phones and mobile web-enabled phones. Smart move. Businesses that declare they are “mobile” and only have an iPhone app are missing the big picture and the biggest audience.
Costco did not make a big deal about their mobile site domain being m.costco.com and suggesting that members need to go to that domain. Instead they simply said to go to costco.com and they let the device detection software do the work of providing the correct version of the site. Happily, this device detection worked for my Palm Pre on webOS. Often, device detection fails for me and serves the desktop site to my Pre. They should have a link to their mobile site from their desktop site in case this didn’t work. (BTW, this is one of the most common mistakes I see in mobile web development.)
As you can see they developed a true mobile site that takes into account what mobile users would most likely need – search, locations and the ability to sign up for SMS offers all prominently featured. It is so important to remember that mobile users have different needs than desktop site visitors.
Next, their SMS campaign is also great because it opens up Costco mobile to ALL phones. Any phone can send and receive text messages. Having a text message campaign ensures that all Costco members with cell phones can interact with them via mobile.
Since I only signed up last week I have only received two messages from Costco – my welcome message and an alert that my new coupon book is active. I am very excited to see what I get on Cyber Monday. According to their ad in Costco Connection, it is sure to be something noteworthy. Maybe I will make my first mcommerce purchase at Costco’s mobile site. (I will let you know.)
One thing I wish they did differently is to use STOP as their opt out action word. Nobody else I have ever seen uses NOTEXT. First of all, businesses should stick with the standard terms to avoid confusion on the part of customers. At least they are putting it in every message. Secondly, it uses two extra characters. Don’t they need those characters to tell me all about the cool stuff they have for me to come get?
Thumbs up Costco! I’ll see you soon, in the store and on my phone.
Selling physical goods on a mobile site may seem like pie in the sky, but if you look to the Japanese it is more like money in the bank. While at Mobile Web Americas, I learned from Daniel Wright, CEO of mPoria, that in Japan over 10 BILLION dollars of physical goods were sold via mobile devices in 2006. This is not downloadable content (ringtones, wallpapers, etc.) this is physical goods (perfume, shoes, electronics, sporting goods, jewelry.)
Wright knew that mobile use came first to Asia and Europe is now coming to America so, being a true entrepreneurial visionary, Wright set out to offer US businesses a way to set up a mobile storefront and get started selling physical goods via mobile. Within 24 hours a mobile store can be set up and launched using mPoria’s GoMobile! mobile commerce solution for retailers.
While mPoria’s big brand customers include GameStop, Buy.com, Moosejaw Mountaineering, GiftTree and many more what is really exciting is that mPoria has pricing that works for small to medium sized business. Any business that sells physical goods to mobile users should get a mobile store open now before the tidal wave of mcommerce hits the US. Frankly, I am thinking of figuring out how to get a mobile store going of my own.
Wright was not at liberty to share any specific revenue numbers from his vendors, but he did share that the average transaction from mPoria’s mobile stores is $120-$130 with a conversion rate of .8 – 1.5%. Recently one of his clients’ sold a diamond via a mobile order. I wonder if next we’ll hear about someone proposing via text message and then ordering up the engagement ring from their phone. (When you hear that story on The Today Show, remember you heard about it here first.)
My prediction is that by the holiday shopping season in 2008 we will be getting reminded when to order via mobile stores to get your gift shipped on time for the big day. And we’ll know that mPoria is the company making it possible here in the U.S.
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