Across the world, more and more people are opting to use their mobile phone rather than power up their PC to browse and shop online. This has opened up a much larger audience of mobile users that companies can market to as mobile provides a new platform to reach them through. Mobile marketing is a force to be reckoned with and every business that focuses on online marketing should be including it in their overall marketing plan.
Online retailer Kalahari.net, which launched its exclusive mobile shopping site www.kalahari.mobi, reports that over 51% of South Africans with mobile phones use the mobile Internet on a daily basis and are ready to use it to make payments. According to the survey, 26% of the mobile users already transact online and the remaining users are likely to pay online.
Tracing the mobile-only new generation
Statistics show that the ratio of mobile phone users to PC Internet users is 5 : 2 with a majority of people have access only to a mobile phone screen. With the introduction of smart phones to the market, there is a whole new generation of mobile Internet users. This young market is labeled the “mobile only” Internet generation as they barely, if ever, use a personal computer, laptop or notebook to browse the Internet. In fact, a local research house found that 57% of South Africans Internet users are mobile only users.
From these figures, it is clear that mobile phones have a tremendous impact on our communication. It also affects the way users transact online. As a result many companies are finding it worthwhile to create a standalone version of their website rather than just make it compatible for the mobile screen. What used to be an alternative method of shopping is now rapidly becoming more common. Interestingly, mobile Internet users who transact online consider it as safe as transacting via their computers. This confidence enhances their trust in the businesses they feel happy to deal with, increasing the conversion rate for those businesses.
Service providers and mobile phone brands
Most South African mobile Internet users use MTN, Vodacom, Cell C, Virgin Mobile and the recently launched 8-Ta. Mobile phone brands range from Nokia to BlackBerry, Samsung, iPhone and Sony Ericson. Android may be all set to capture a larger market share this year, while Symbian continues to be the preferred operating system with BlackBerry.
Kalahari.net’s survey also discovered that mobile shopping are mostly centered around apps, flight tickets, books, CDs and DVDs, music downloads, games, electronic devices and groceries. Marketers should aim to give their mobile user content that is just one click away from a purchase.
One of the most important things about mobile websites is the local context, since it is Internet on-the-go. Mobile users want easy to view relevant information that they can take action on. While mobile marketing is still in its growth phase on a global basis, research shows that developing nations will see the maximum growth as the mobile phone will be the only access to the Internet for most people. This situation is enhanced by the fact that over 700 million people will use mobile money by year 2015. Mobile transactions will experience massive growth, particularly in countries where the mobile phone will be users’ only access to the Internet. Financial companies are also gearing up to reach out to their customers via their mobile phones. Live money services are showing explosive growth, making it more and more obvious that we are heading towards a cashless society.
A cashless international mobile money market by 2015; will you shift or drift?