Mobile: it's all coming together
Within the next six to 12 months, it will all start coming together in terms of mobile purchasing, mobile ticketing and access to multiple payment options including an integrated mobile wallet payment solution, says Lynette Hundermark, head of product strategy at digital media agency Prezence Digital.
Prezence, with a long history of rolling out applications and marketing to mobile, recently expanded Ster-Kinekor's mobile functionality to allow for more individually targeted marketing and greater functionality. This is the way mobile is moving worldwide, she says.
"We're seeing a move to take what you have and make it more relevant, providing simplicity to customers. For example, by delivering personalised messages that are applicable to the customer, combined with geolocation, you can push relevant information that the customer is actually interested in," she says.
Shoppers in a particular mall, for instance, who have opted to receive information about a specific genre of movie, might receive mobile marketing alerting them to a special screening of that movie showing in the mall cinema.
Coupled with the ability to easily book a ticket via mobile, and incorporation of mobile vouchers and mobile wallet functionality, the mobile handset can become a valuable channel directly to the consumer, with the potential to significantly increase sales and make the path to purchase simpler for the user.
Globally, there is a growing move towards mobile ticketing, mobile payments and targeted mobile marketing. Integrating all of these features into new and innovative solutions will change the way customers interact with businesses, says Hundermark.
"Phones will become major transactional devices; they will be the hub of everything," she says.
While several pioneering companies in SA have embarked on major mobile application strategies, and most have some form of mobile presence, the full impact of the mobile transactional wave has not hit SA yet, but Hundermark expects things to change significantly over the next six to 12 months.
What is needed to drive this change, she says, is more focused mobile strategies by businesses, and for consumers to become more comfortable with booking, paying and ticketing using their mobile phones. "Booking has taken off strongly, but the actual purchasing part of the process may take longer to come. It's a matter of people seeing big brands they trust going mobile."
With mobile more pervasive than desktop, mobile channels are the future, Hundermark believes. But applications need to be seamlessly integrated with payment systems, and they must be simple to use, she notes. They also need to take context or situational circumstance of the mobile user into consideration.
Hundermark says Prezence is seeing growing interest from local brands in embarking on more targeted and effective mobile strategies. "It's an exciting time to be in the mobile space," she says.
Hundermark will address the upcoming ITWeb Mobility Summit on the challenges and benefits of implementing a mobile strategy, using Prezence's partnership with Ster-Kinekor as a case study. For more information about this event, click here.