Embracing mobile mind shift: Mobile moments

Tuesday, 11 November 2014 01:13 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

By Sarah Hannan The largest mobile marketer in Sri Lanka, zMessenger, hosted the first mobile marketing round table on 30 October at La Fiesta, Colombo. The round table focused on how key brands across different industries re-engineer their marketing strategy to create mobile moments that would transform customer experience. The panel of speakers represented FMCG, hospitality, banking and financial services, with the discussion moderated by zMessenger Ltd. Co-founder and CEO Jayomi Lokuliyana. In her opening remarks, Lokuliyana elaborated on how dependent we have become towards our mobile devices. “We have been eating, drinking and sleeping with our mobile phones for the last decade and it has changed the attitudes of businesses and consumer expectations,” she said. She explained that with the invention of mobile devices there has been a shift in balance. Consumers now have the ability to do a price comparison of a product before they purchase by simply checking on a mobile app. In a way the consumer is empowered with their mobile devices to decide from where they want to make a purchase. People turn to their mobile phones to check the weather, follow match scores, search nearby restaurants etc. and these are the points where mobile moments can be created. According to Forrester Research, “The mobile mind shift is the expectation that I can get what I want in my immediate context and moments of need. Customers and employees are making this shift now. This shift means the battle for the customer’s attention will be waged in mobile moments — anytime that customer pulls out a mobile device.” Sharing some local stats, Lokuliyana noted that 52% of mobile users expect a mobile-friendly website from their service providers and 42% of mobile users expect mobile apps from their service providers. Gartner Research had predicted that by 2017, companies will spend $ 189 billion on mobile platforms. “Mobile moments are key to the future of mobile marketing. If you are there to create mobile moments for your clients you can solidify the trust of your clients for your brand,” Lokuliyana reiterated. HSBC Sri Lanka Marketing and Communications Head Tharanga Gunasekera shared his perspective on mobile mind shift and how HSBC is coping with it and leveraging the consumer. “We look at two areas when implementing mobile apps. The first one is the medium and then where it can be used. An average person would read a newspaper once a day, listen to the radio twice a day but their engagement with a mobile device goes up to at least 26 times a day. More people use mobiles for online activities than desktops,” he said. Gunasekera added, “Humans like to consume and the latest trend is the consumption of technology. Today data consumption has increased due to mobile phone usage and it is becoming the best medium to engage with the consumer. Credit cards are used when dining out, while on holiday and shopping. During these transactions the bank can identify the customers purchase pattern. HSBC was the first bank in Sri Lanka to launch a USSD platform providing the ability for the customer to check their balance on the mobile. For impulsive buying augmented reality helps consumers to pick and choose options. But in Sri Lanka the level of engagement between a brand and its consumer is very thin. As smartphone penetration increases we can use it as a medium to leverage consumer engagement.” Nihonbashi Founder and Ministry of Crab and Kaema Sutra Co-founder Dharshan Munidasa revealed how he as a restaurateur uses mobile moments to engage with his customers. He said Nihonbashi was the first restaurant in the world to replace the traditional printed menu card with an interactive digital menu card on an iPad.
 Q&A session At the end of the panel discussion the speakers responded to some questions from the audience: Q: Have banks taken enough security measures for mobile banking or is it vulnerable? A: Wikramasinhe: People who are IT savvy are reluctant to use mobile banking services. Breaking the perception that online banking is deadly is harder to deal with than the vulnerabilities. Gunasekera: Only 55% of people use online services to fulfil their banking needs. Q: Should each company create an app and clutter the consumer’s phone? Or can a common app be created? A: Lokuliyana: Even though people expect apps it does not mean every business should have its own app. We have created one such app that brings the best deals on credit cards, loyalty cards and club and society memberships onto one platform which is known as Bigbon. Q: Where does your faith in technology come from? Where does morality stand in watching a person’s habits? A: Wikramasinhe: Faith in technology is based on experience. Very rarely we come across people who have lost money online due to technical failures. The regulatory requirement needs to be met and consumer confidence needs to be built. Banerjee: Technology is not something alien. Faith in technology comes in the way the community embraces it and how it is embedded in our lives. From taking pictures, sharing it on social media and editing your privacy settings, everything is technology. It is a person’s perspective on their boundaries and a company’s responsibility on setting regulations. Gunasekera: In the financial service perspective we want the consumer to have peace of mind. Having a robust system to engage with the customer, especially when there is an unusual activity in their transaction history, is important. When we notice there is an unusual activity we usually contact them on their mobile to inform them.
“We have invested in WiFi infrastructure in all our restaurants to facilitate our customers to browse our menus. Some guests even make reservations via email and using the zMessenger platform. We send confirmation of the reservation through SMS, which is only supported for local mobile phone numbers. We also have our wine list on the iPad and a customer can browse through the pictures on the iPad.” Munidasa also stated that a mobile app is being developed for Kaema Sutra known as ‘Order Sutra’ which will encourage customers to place takeaway orders while they walk around the Arcade. Speaking on how a bank finds new ways to engage with their customers through mobile apps, Hatton National Bank Head of E-Banking Services, Mangala Wikramasinhe, stated that at the beginning it was known as alternate banking channels and then it became direct banking channels which turned into multi banking channels and now it is known as omni-banking channels. That is how the banking sector has evolved with mobile services. “The omni-channel experience cannot be provided through one device as the product delivered to the customers needs to be customised according to various devices used by customers,” he said. Sharing his experience with the mobile payment sector Orik Payment Solutions Ltd. Co-founder and CEO Patric Henzen noted that the first 10 years were just about calls and SMS. The second phase was mobile convergence on laptops and mobile devices. The third phase was adding functions to mobile moments and making mobile devices an essential part of your life. “Very soon you will see that you can select a product that you want to purchase and tap your phone to pay for the product selecting your credit card number on your mobile app. You can also use your mobile phone as a proximity device to identify the merchants around the area,” Henzen explained. Unilever Sri Lanka Country Marketing Director Siddharth Banerjee spoke about how Unilever has created mobile moments and engage with their customers. “The necessary infrastructure is already in place in Sri Lanka. The community needs to come together to play with mobile apps. We came up with several campaigns where we provided a big event which the customer can be a part of with a click of a button,” he opined. At the end of the session, the panellists were presented with tokens of appreciations and an MoU was signed between zMessenger and Unilever Sri Lanka. Pix by Lasantha Kumara