As smartphones get smarter, they are increasingly becoming the “go to” device for consumers and business people who need to make something happen “now.” And if you are like me, one of those procrastinating gift givers on special occasions, some of the new mobile applications from gift marketers are quite useful.<
I caught up with Vib Prasad, Senior Director of Web Marketing and Merchandising for 1-800-Flowers.com, one of the innovators in the mobile commerce category. The company’s smartphone ordering system was developed with Digby, a leading mobile commerce platform and service provider based in Austin. According to Vib, the key to effective mobile commerce is integrating it with the rest of the offline and online marketing mix and not treating it as a separate mobile-only initiative. Much of 1-800-Flowers.com’s mobile success leading up to Mother’s Day was a result of newspaper advertising by Apple, which featured the 1800Flowers application as part of its App Store advertising.
Vib began testing mobile commerce in 2007 after hearing customer feedback of wanting the convenience of shopping for gifts on the go. The company’s promise of “getting it there when you thought it was too late” led it to look for ways to improve its responsiveness to anxious customers. Creating a mobile ordering app for the Blackberry was the first step. But Vib acknowledges that the Apple iPhone and App Store have certainly accelerated the popularity of mobile commerce.
What’s next for 1-800-Flowers.com on the mobile front? Vib plans to focus on three things: increase the “discoverability” of the company’s mobile applications, enhance the usability of its applications for those with short attention spans and expand the use of mobile devices for customer service and loyalty-building efforts.
Have you used a mobile ordering app yet? Which one is your favorite? I encourage you to use these apps to get a better sense of how mobile commerce could fit into your marketing mix.