Last weekend I read an article in the NY Times about the advancement of couponing printed from the Internet or sent to mobile phones. Throw in the evolution of geolocation software, your mobile device will enable marketers to profile all your movements. Big Mobile is Watching!
There are a lot of numbers floating out there about mobile phone usage, but for this blog I am going to focus in on eMarketer indicating that currently 34.5% of mobile phone users access the mobile Internet at least monthly; 50% by 2013. They also reported that two-fifths of smartphone owners reported buying something nonmobile over their phones in the last six months. According to Motorola’s Global Survey of in-store holiday shopping released in January, 51% of consumers tracked over 11 countries, used their mobile phones for in-store shopping – comparison shopping, product information, coupons, etc. The percentage jumped to 64% for Gen Y (ages 18 to 34) shoppers. In February, Target positioned itself as a leader in mobile retail where consumers can now download their gift cards (Target Mobile GiftCards). Other retailers are now following suit by going mobile with their loyalty rewards programs. Last, there is the rise of Foursquare and other location-based social networking sites that facilitate people to “check in” with each other. Foursquare is a real windfall for marketing savvy Retailers that target and reward “Mayors”, consumers that frequent their locations.
So what am I advocating here? M-Commerce is beginning to rule our lives. Consumer profiling companies are surfacing. They are accumulating mega consumer data based on monitoring your Internet searches via your mobile devices, your geographic Retail preferences (e.g., restaurant and bars you frequent), etc. Your mobile usage is then being coded on the bar code that you eventually swipe from your phone to buy promotional products/services. In the future, with the advancement of geolocation software and the increased marketing knowledge of Retailers, they will touch you every time you are within physical proximity of their location.
As I stated earlier, Big Mobile is Watching. Sounds like the Federal Trade Commission will have its work cut out in the future to tighten online advertising rules.