Marketing April 25, 2013 Last updated December 7th, 2020 3,166 Reads share

A Guide To Mobile Marketing And Mobile Commerce (Mcommerce) For Business

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This post originally appeared on Christina Giliberti’s ’s blog, Christina is a regular contributor to Tweak Your Biz. 

The adoption of mobile (smartphones/tablets) has changed the face of online marketing and ecommerce (Mobile Marketing and Mobile Commerce). Some have coined the phrase ‘Digital Darwinism’ to describe the speed at which digital evolution is taking place due to this disruptive technology. Simply put, technological advancements are being engineered, tested and consumed in a shorter time-frame than ever before. The world of m-commerce, apps and location-based marketing is making light work of targeting, engaging and converting for businesses in today’s society.

Mobile commerce MCommerce

 [Image credit:]

The business case for mobile marketing and mobile commerce

  • 82% have researched a product via their mobile and 67% that view a mobile-friendly site will most likely buy/use the service (Eric Daly, DMI Mobile Marketing Conference, Dublin 2013).
  • The market penetration of mobile usage in Ireland is actually over 100% with 5.52 million active mobile phones at the moment and 5.9 billion mobile devices in use worldwide (DMI Mobile Marketing Conference, Dublin 2013).
  • Retailers’ apps take up the most of consumers’ time at 27%, followed by online marketplace at 20%, purchase assistant at 17%, price comparison at 14%, and daily deals at 13% (AdMedia Partners via Marketing Charts, 2013).
  • Of 42% of people who clicked on a mobile ad, 35% visit the advertiser’s page (Google via Mobithinking, 2013).
  • 27% of companies worldwide planned to implement location-based marketing in 2013 (Comscore via Econsultancy, 2013).
  • By the end of 2013, there will be more mobile devices on Earth than people (Cisco via Mashable, 2013).

Those born in generation Z have not been exposed to ‘dumb phones’. Many of us however will remember the days when a mobile phone was a portable phone for emergencies with a typical shrill ring (that couldn’t be set to silent or vibe) and text messaging if you were lucky. It weighed much the same as a small dog and had an obvious aerial. We had no idea then that phones would become our handheld worlds to browse the internet, share updates, star in videos, connect with businesses or allow us to make purchases.

Why choose mobile?

The benefits for users are 10-fold – lightweight, portable, ability to connect to the internet and functionability that mirrors the standard PC. Mobile gives you all-in-one connectivity, flexibility and mobility. For businesses, the benefits can be summed up in this one statistic  – 67% that view a mobile-friendly site will buy/use the service (Paul Dunne, DMI Mobile Marketing Conference, Dublin 2013). In short, viewing via mobile is more likely to precede a conversion.

mobile-purchases. Mobile marketing conf

Mobile purchases breakdown by category, Paul Dunne, Mobile Marketing Conf, Dublin, 2013

Let’s break down some of the benefits for users and businesses:

  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi hot-spots are helping to provide a highly connected experience for consumers and businesses. Slowly, but surely, more and more are free, although there are paid Wi-Fi hot spots. Those with internet packages (Bluetooth/WAP) on their phone can use 3G, which boasts 95% coverage within Ireland.
  • Flexibility: The mobile device is more than just a way of making phone calls from any location. It facilitates a range of uses from work, consumer/business transactions, leisure, planning and communications (text/email/conference calls).
  • Mobility: The standard PC is tethered by leads (and weight) and the laptop is cumbersome (although they are becoming more streamlined and light-weight). A phone or tablet is a small, portable device. It fits in your pocket or bag with ease and is light-weight enough that you hardly notice it.

A Mobile website

Why do I need a mobile website?

Almost every website can be viewed on a mobile device, however there are negatives to mobile browsing from a user perspective. If the website isn’t supported by mobiles or designed to suit a mobile device, then the website will be:

  • Fragmented: images and text positioned incorrectly on the screen.
  • Invisible (all or part): Flash is used, then Apple device viewers will not see the animations.
  • Too small: mobile screens are small, so buttons and text need to be bigger (especially for those with big fingers!)

Designing for mobiles

mobile app menu

When designing a mobile-friendly website, you have two main choices:

  1. Responsive Design and Adaptive Design
  2. Pure mobile

Responsive design

A responsive design adjusts to any width. This is a better solution, as it will ‘flex’ for all devices and is a ‘future-proof’ option that will work on future mobile and tablets. Example: Yesterdays store

Adaptive design

A website using adaptive design, adapts to device widths and viewpoints. While this approach is quicker and easier, it doesn’t account for device screen changes and so could be obsolete in a short time-frame.

Pure mobile

Pure mobile websites differ from responsive/adaptive websites, as pure mobile are honed for mobile use. True mobile websites like, The Open University and The Journal account for mobile devices by designing mobile websites with the following in mind:

mobile app on smartphone

  • Compress the site navigational menu system and prioritise options. Use collapsible navigation, as opposed to full.
  • Add ‘click to call’ options.
  • Screen swipes.
  • Insert big buttons that stand out against backgrounds and are perfect for big fingers.
  • For retailers – include maps/GPS and the ability to check stock at stores.
  • Auto-detection feature that sends all mobile users to the mobile site.

Websites like Mobdis and Wix mobile help website owners build their own mobile websites.  Mobile applications (apps) are synonymous with mobile devices.

If you have a ‘linked’ set of devices, ie. Apple iPhone and Apple iPad, the apps can appear on both devices. Some apps however are only suitable for a smartphone or tablet. The value of apps for businesses are based on:

  • Trend (apps are ‘in’).
  • Public Accessibility (Their website, Apple store, Google).
  • Ease of use for users and the fact that apps are added to the main screen to access them quicker.
  • Dynamic applications – integration functions for a seamless user experience.
  • Make instant updates in-line with technology, feedback, etc. and make changes available to users (they must update app).

There are countless apps on the market and more businesses are investing in them as they drive customers to the business.


  • Democratic apps is a business that is based on an app product. This app is designed so that Politicians and Councillors can enter their details and the general public can use the app to contact them directly.
  • Sage 50 app allows you to access your finances, produce instant quotes and even generate invoices. Both of the examples above utilise mobile by giving smartphone and tablet users access to their products on the go. Accessibility is key to a successful mobile strategy.

Mobile Commerce (M-Commerce)

Ecommerce allowed businesses to conduct instant transactions via websites and mobile commerce allows people and businesses to conduct financial transactions on mobile devices. This video by Erisson explains mobile commerce with some catchy cartoon drawing.


Mobile (M) Commerce is a growth area for businesses that sell online: ‘Amárach [predicted] that the acceleration in smartphone use [would] stimulate demand for mobile commerce in Ireland and [forecasted] that €800 million worth of transactions [would] be conducted through mobile devices in 2012.’

And in the UK, James Connelly, co-founder/Managing director of mobile agency Fetch has said ‘In the first half of 2012, mobile advertising revenues reached an all-time high – peaking at £181.5m with mobile ad spend up 132%. Mobile advertising revenues will undoubtedly continue to increase in 2013.’

As mobile adoption and ownership increases, along with the mobile ability to do almost anything with them (almost!), the opportunities are endless. Via mobile, you have a connection anytime, anywhere. Mobile commerce opens up the arena further to capitalise and profit from this connection.


One of the greatest advancements for mobile commerce is the ability to generate an instant payment. Through the use of technology and the ‘buy in’ from global payment systems like Visa, there are a number of payment technologies with products in the mobile commerce market. realex-paymentsMobile payment technologies:

  • Realex payments remains one of the top players for online payments, allowing payments from credit cards, debit cards and even the Irish Laser card (although this is being phased out 2012/2013). Their service is in conjunction with most merchants such as Visa, MasterCard and American Express.
  • Visa (in conjunction with Samsung) has enabled NFC (as opposed to chip and pin) payments on Samsung devices. These utilise a secure element chip,  embedded within the devices that stores your payment account information.
  • MasterCard has launched MasterPass – which is a secure digital merchant checkout service.

Mobile marketing

Mobile marketing is mobile-specific marketing which concentrates on:

  • Advertising (you can create mobile-only ads on the Google search/network with Adwords and even specify the exact phone brand and model)
  • Location-based / Geo-targeting
  • Augumented Reality
  • Mobile-focused apps like Amazon’s PriceCheck that takes account of Showrooming 

Mobile advertising

Google Adwords has a multitude of ad types. One of these is mobile. The settings allow you to target specific devices ‘mobile’ / ‘tablet’ and even brands ‘Apple iPhone’ (Via Legacy Settings).

You are also able to create a Mobile app to feature on Google’s app network.

Geo-targeting and location-based marketing

Smartphone ownership is at 50% in Ireland and location-based marketing for retail stores like Subway, Brown Thomas and Walmart is an excellent way to entice shoppers to the store.

  • Subway UK‘s ‘You Are Here’ campaign targets customers based on their location. Opted-in users near a Subway store were sent an MMS (multimedia messaging service) with vouchers that are scanned in-store.
  • Walmart’s ‘Store Mode’ mobile app uses geolocation and geofencing technology to detect when customers are in a store. When they enter, the screen below pops up on their mobile.

Augmented reality

Augmented reality (AR) is a live, direct or indirect, view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data. Augmented Reality brings a campaign to life by allowing customers to interact with the brand. Examples:

  • National Geographic brought Dinosaurs to life in an AR campaign designed to allow customers an opportunity to interact.
  • Tesco’s virtual stores have been rolled out in Korea and the first virtual store in the UK has been set up at Gatwick Airport, London. The stores are a virtual representation of a store, so the food items are seen in graphical form. Customers use their smartphones to scan the QR codes associated with the items they wish to buy and the items are then paid for via an app.



Showrooming is the term used when a mobile user accesses an online store while in a physical store, to compare prices. They may use Amazon’s ‘Pricecheck’ app to check the price on Amazon, and all they need is a search term, an image or a scan of the barcode. 

5 Innovative mobile campaigns for inspiration

  1. QR codes embedded in pavements in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Scan with a mobile to read information on the city.
  2. Parkbytext that allow you to text your parking place and time and pay via a card linked to your phone number.
  3. Walmart ‘Scan & Go’ service that lets consumers save time by scanning store items with their iPhone device and bagging straight away. Consumers can head to a self-checkout lane, transfer their basket wirelessly and complete their payment.
  4. Eventbrite app that send event QR codes to your phone that can be scanned at the event.
  5. Burberry Watch mobile campaign ‘The Britain’ focuses on mobile-only content. The site features a 3D watch and uses the user’s geo-location to add their local time to the dial of ‘The Britain’.

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Christina Giliberti

Christina Giliberti

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