I've learned quite a bit while manning the booth, walking the floor and attending conference seminars this week at eTail Boston. Generally, mobile and ecommerce are the hottest topics.
Using this space, I wanted to highlight what I learned from the first two days of this conference.
Marketers Love Mobile Apps
We have a strong presence here - a joint booth with mobile cloud partner SiteMinis. We're talking about our new enterprise and template-based mobile app
platforms. Really cool stuff.
Most of the people who stop by our booth are involved in marketing. Their biggest challenge with mobile apps is getting IT, developers and interactive agencies all in line and moving at the speed required to get campaigns and other information to market.
Our template-based platform with SiteMinis is truly a do-it-yourself solution. People have raved about the simplicity, and they can see how a tool like this gives marketers the ability to create their own content and sites, alleviating their need to go to IT, developers and interactive agencies. Instead of time-consuming headaches, they can create and deploy their mobile site in minutes.
Business Advantages Should Be Better Communicated
As I walk around the conference floor, I see a lot of booths with - quite frankly - poor messaging around their ecommerce and mobile products.
They're not communicating the real business advantages. Ideally, you'd like to see them showcase the business challenges they are facing, describe their solution and highlight the benefits of using their product.
I also don't see a lot of products, other than ours, that focus on the underlying platform. If information is going to be stored in the cloud, for example, they want to know if there's a trusted provider behind the product.
Mobile Marketing Will Explode
I've heard numerous experts from companies like Dell and Brookstone deliver presentations and participate in panel discussions, and a common theme has emerged: Despite all the hype, mobile marketing remains in the infancy stage. However, they all believe it's going to explode in the near future.
Experts here at eTail Boston advise marketers to go out and try as many mobile marketing measures as possible. Find out what works best. Don't just sit back and not do anything.
Scalability Key to Web-Based Ecommerce
During a panel discussion, I heard an interesting exchange about planning for the next holiday season. Christian Friedland, president of Build.com, really honed in on making sure that whatever plans you have for website scalability, know that you'll need more.
The point is to make sure you have an infrastructure platform that can scale up to where it's going to be during the holiday season. And then test, test, test the system so you can see how it will react to all that traffic.
Another important point deals with the application side of the equation. Not only do you need scalable infrastructure, your applications also have to scale with the infrastructure. Don't forget that. Ultimately, you are supporting the client experience. It should be a good one.
Comparison Shopping, QR Codes and More
In addition to being used for direct shopping, mobile phones are being used for tasks such as comparison shopping and to scan QR codes.
Think about it: When you're at the electronics store, how many times have you looked over to see somebody scanning the bar code to see if he's getting the best deal? Heck, I've done it myself.
QR codes - which link to product information, videos and more - are also becoming popular.
The point here is that mobile phones are an evolving tool. Mobile not only impacts brand companies from a mobile commerce and sales perspective, it's continually impacting them in new ways.
While we can build solutions to meet today's needs, there always will be something new. People don't know the full impact of mobile and all the different things that are going to come to fruition.
That's all for now. I hope to learn more today, as well as dive into best practices and emerging strategies of mobile shopping during the Mobile Shopping Summit on Thursday.
Kevin Conway is global director, consumer brands, at Savvis.