Mobile commerce, often called mCommerce, is one of the fastest growing trends heading into 2014. In our recent Google Ecommerce Report, for example, mobile Product Listing Ad traffic in Q4 increased by 326% while orders grew 259% year over year.
Yet despite growing traffic, the biggest challenge for retailers is converting mobile shoppers. This is where mcommerce solution providers can add tremendous value, value that will only appreciate over time with the quickly growing trend.
With more than 300 clients, Unbound Commerce is one of the industry’s top mobile platform providers. Let’s hear from Unbound’s VP of Marketing, Keith Lietzke, on how retailers can benefit from teaming up with an mCommerce platform.
Describe Unbound Commerce in 50 words or less.
Keith: We founded Unbound specifically to help retailers take advantage of the coming explosion of mobile, and more generally, the proliferation of new consumer devices and touchpoints. We just launched 120 new retailers in 2013, and I think that makes us the fastest growing mobile solution provider in the market today.
What are 1-2 key areas of ecommerce and digital marketing that retailers need to hit on to get the most out of 2014?
Keith: For many retailers, mobile is already reaching 30% of their traffic. 65% of marketing emails are opened on mobile devices. “Showrooming” is rampant, with in-store shoppers using their smartphones for comparison shopping. In 2014, it’s imperative that retailers offer quality service to their many mobile visitors – or see them bounce to a competitor who does. We find that the ROI is almost immediate.
For Sports Unlimited, their mobile site yielded a 300% conversion gain at launch; last spring we did a refresh that increased conversion rates by another 40%.
What have you found to be the most effective digital advertising channels for mobile retail sites?
Keith: I’d like to broaden the question and ask about the most effective traffic drivers for these sites. The biggest opportunities are organic, not advertising. E-retailers are already getting plenty of mobile traffic. Their near-term challenge is to convert that traffic, so in other words, to maximize the bang they get from their existing initiatives in email, SEO, SEM, and affiliates. The priorities are 1) deliver a mobile-optimized experience and then 2) tweak it to optimize conversions.
What is Unbound Commerce’s target market?
Keith: Our sweet spot is the “mid-market” retailer — $5M – $50M annual online revenues. Unbound has billion dollar companies as customers – such as Finish Line and Coors – but our solution is especially effective, and cost-effective, for mid-sized merchants.
What separates Unbound Commerce from the rest of the pack?
Keith: I think our uniqueness comes from the fact that we deliver a truly mobile-optimized solution – not one that is merely derived from the desktop site. The other methods for delivering mobile are either responsive or transcoding – both of which are nothing more than a shrunken version of the main site. True mobile-optimization allows the retailer to address the mobile buyer’s unique needs. Unbound customers are doing that today.
Also, not to be minimized, we find that mid-market retailers need to be able to deploy mobile within limited budgets; we believe we’re pretty unique in the way we address total cost of ownership.
What do you guys have in store for the future?
Keith: To date, most of our projects have been smartphone-optimized web apps. Tablets are the next obvious wave, as consumer adoption is rampant and as limitations of current desktop sites are increasingly apparent. We’ve also started a major in-store initiative for brick & mortar merchants. For example, Shoe Carnival provides a touch screen browser in a kiosk, making it easy for store customers to also check warehouse inventory.
How can an ecommerce merchant get started with Unbound Commerce?
Keith: We start things off with a 20-30 minute conversation, during which we review a few of our 300+ mobile retailers and discuss the merchant’s particular needs and potential strategies. Then we jointly decide if Unbound can offer an ideal solution.
Keith co-founded Unbound Commerce in 2008, the company dedicated to helping retailers take advantage of the then-upcoming mobile tidal wave. And beyond mobiles, with the continued proliferation of devices and uses – such as interactive TVs and wearables. As VP of Marketing & Business Development, Keith brings 20+ years of successful start-up experience with software companies in the mobile and the e-commerce industries.