M-Commerce – Direct marketing goes mobile!

Post by Jessica Weyhmuller

How many people a day do you see using a cellular phone? If people are not making calls, they are most likely texting, and if they are not doing those forms of communicating they could be checking the news, their email, playing a game, or listening to music. There are close to a billion mobile phones used worldwide, many of which have Internet capabilities. What better way to take advantage of this, than to market and promote right to these mobile phones or devices (PDAs) … welcome to the world of m-commerce. This form of e-commerce activity is predominant in Europe and Asia. For example, over half of Japan’s Web users access the Internet by means of a mobile device; for them it is actually cheaper! In the U.S., it has yet to catch on as quickly, but slowly cell phone companies are beginning to target the high-school/college level demographics.

SMS marketing, or short-messaging system marketing, sends ads for movies, restaurants, or concerts via text messages. However, forms of spam have plagued this type of advertising, known as spam or adware. The former occurs with American Online Instant Messaging users when their Buddy Lists redirect them to advertising or downloading sites. The latter is a type of undetected software that runs gathering personal information through a user’s Web-browsing habits to generate specific pop-ups and regenerated homepages.

M-commerce’s best advantage is consumer convenience. Mobile ticketing, for example, allows mobile device users to book or cancel tickets, like for airports, sporting events, or concerts. They can also be used to distribute coupons, loyalty card, or vouchers by means of virtual tokens. Currently people can buy ring tones, download music, wallpaper, etc., but downloads as big as movies are seen in the 4G future. A perk for advertisers using m-commerce is location-based technologies; allowing a retailer to know when a prospective shopper is in the store’s vicinity and then send them various sale information to further entice the consumer to the store. Banks are also getting swept up in the mobile fire. With mobile banking, accounts and stock market can be checked, auctions participated in, and further purchases made.

Overall, m-commerce may be the newest and quickest way to target a specific market. Not only is it environmentally conscientious and economically cheaper than regular advertising, it is also easy and more importantly user-friendly.

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