Geoff Galat
Geoff Galat 19 December 2018

Three steps to putting the mobile consumer in context

With the rise of mobile commerce, today’s consumers don’t “go shopping”, but instead purchase items in a huge variety of different contexts and settings.

These changing contexts result in a whole host of purchasing mindsets, with a customer browsing via their phone in bed making completely different decisions to one stress-shopping at their office desk. This puts brands at a serious disadvantage, making it almost impossible to map consumer moods and ensure that customers walk away with a positive experience.

Since the average consumer spend is upwards of three hours a day browsing on their smartphone, it’s vital that brands understand how this impacts purchase decisions, and the ways in which the freedom to browse anywhere has affected the consumer’s psychological mindset.

This fluid mindset radically changes the way that brands must approach mobile experiences. Rather than thinking about mobile-first, or even omnichannel retail, today’s brands must instead think in terms of consumer context – the moods, mindsets and emotions that consumers feel when shopping from a variety of different settings.

So just what can brands do to understand their customers in context and appeal to their seemingly ever-changing needs? Here are three steps to get started:

1. Think behavior, not just data

Big data and customer analytics will always be a pivotal part of the marketing arsenal, with consumer feedback, social media data and traditional metrics forming a key aspect of any marketing campaign.

That said, seeing customers as numbers on a spreadsheet isn’t enough.

Brands need to look beyond data and start to think about their customers as individuals with a wide variety of buying mindsets and moods. By measuring increasingly subtle behaviors such as clicks, hovers and scrolls, brands can develop a more nuanced view of their customers.

Rather than taking customer feedback at face value, brands must attempt to understand the emotions behind consumer purchasing decisions, and not assume that everything they do represents a rational and repeatable data source.  It’s important to stress that while these mindsets do alter with every shopping experience, with the right data and Experience Analytics, it is possible to build an accurate portrait of a particular consumer’s shopping mindset at the moment of purchase. These mindsets can include, a lack of interest, disorientation, an exploring mindset, mindful and focused shoppers.

2. Think emotions not facts

Clicktale’s research suggests that, when browsing on mobile devices, consumers are drawn to entertaining and emotive content. When planning their mobile strategies, brands must play to their audiences’ emotions, developing content that is scannable, enjoyable and sharable.

This is not to say that mobile content can’t provide valuable information, but rather that the format of that information must play to the mobile mindset. This may come down to the type of content being used, or even the layout of the mobile webpage or app itself.

Research has shown that emotive and experience-based content such as personal reviews and user-generated photos are now considered just as important by consumers as ‘factual’ content such as product specifications and official product images. In order to unlock such emotive experiences, brands should focus not on emotion itself, but rather the gateway to emotion — the customer’s memory of a particular experience.

In the digital world, we need to rely on the close ties between intent, mindset, mood and emotion to shape the customer experience and create the lasting positive memories that comprise loyalty. Even simply rearranging the layout of a page to ensure that experience-led content is front and centre on mobile devices can make a dramatic impact on sales, cart abandonments and conversion rates.

3. Think context, not devices

When planning their mobile strategies, it’s all too easy for brands to get bogged down in developing device-specific content.

While the need to develop tailored materials for different device users is important, it’s not the device itself which defines the customer experience, but rather the context in which it is being used. When building content for a desktop browser it’s fair to assume that visitors will be receiving that content when at work or at home. This knowledge makes it far easier for brands to pre-empt the types of moods that their customers are likely to be in when they shop. When it comes to mobile shopping however, the range of settings and moods is significantly broader.

To overcome this, brands must work to develop a psychological profile of their visitors, using experience analytics to understand which settings and moods people are operating in while visiting a site. Through these analytics, marketers can add a new layer of context to their omnichannel strategies, going beyond simply which device a shopper is using to understand the emotions that drive their purchase decisions.

When it comes to mobile decision making, context is everything. To understand how different devices and shopping contexts impact consumer moods however, brands must first understand that their consumers aren’t necessarily capable of explaining their own purchase behaviors. Great customer experiences don’t always follow a repeatable pattern, as such businesses need to stop treating their customers as numbers on a spreadsheet, and start treating them as fluid, emotion-driven human beings. Only then can marketers, CX professionals and brands start to create a truly great customer experience for everyone.

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