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Using the Mobile Purchasing Funnel in Marketing

Instructor: Beth Hendricks

Beth holds a master's degree in integrated marketing communications, and has worked in journalism and marketing throughout her career.

Mobile devices have changed how consumers complete their buying journey. In this lesson, you'll learn more about how mobile impacts direct purchasing, promotions and in-store purchases.

How Consumers Buy

Like so many others areas of life, mobile devices have shifted the way in which consumers consume. Meaning, instead of navigating the traditional buying funnel popularized by American advertiser E. St. Elmo Lewis in the late 1800s, buyers are being impacted in their purchasing decisions by the ever-present smartphone or tablet.

The mobile purchasing funnel has accelerated the consumer buying process.
The mobile purchasing funnel has accelerated the consumer buying process.

The traditional funnel identifies four stages in the buying journey, from the widest point of the funnel when consumers are coming to awareness of a product, to interest in purchasing it, then to the desire for a particular model or brand culminating in the purchase itself.

Today, mobile devices such as cellphones and tablets are influencing that journey. Let's examine how.

What's Mobile Got To Do With It?

Mobile devices, essentially, put any product within our grasp for purchase at any time. Because of the available flow of information, shopping comparisons, coupons and promotions and immediate access to competitors, mobile devices have accelerated the rate at which consumers are purchasing and how they're making those purchases. Here are a few examples:

Direct Mobile Purchasing

Mobile purchasing continues to increase as a mainstream way for consumers to engage in e-commerce activities. Shopping via mobile device accounts for approximately one-third of all U.S. ecommerce sales, according to data analyzed by Internet Retailer.

That means more and more consumers are researching and comparing products on their mobile devices and then continuing on through the funnel to complete a purchase. No longer are television and magazine ads impacting some consumers' decisions; everything they know about a product, from initial awareness to completing a purchase is performed on a mobile device.

Marketers should take advantage of this direct mobile purchasing by being prepared to meet buyers in their buying journey through the use of text message alerts, robust mobile websites and apps and display ads on search engine results.

Mobile Promotion

Because of the prevalence of mobile device usage, actively engaging in mobile promotions is important across all stages of a purchasing funnel. Promotions are particularly important in the interest or consideration stage, when consumers are looking for a reason to purchase from you and not a competitor. A survey conducted in the United Kingdom in 2015 found that up to 50 percent of mobile consumers made a purchase only when an offer or promotion was involved.

Promotions also have a place in various other points of the funnel. For example, at the top of the funnel, a promotion posted on social media can drive people to your website and increase awareness of your brand or product. Further down the funnel, promotions can help convert customers from considering your product to making the purchase. This could include a percentage discount, free shipping or other customer reward for buying.

Brick and Mortar Purchasing

While in-store, or brick and mortar, purchasing is still happening, consumers armed with mobile devices are using them in those stores to help research products and scout out the best offers. Internet Retailer said that up to 75 percent of buyers are using their mobile phones inside of retail stores to look at product reviews, how-to videos and compare products. Another quarter of store shoppers are making purchases on their mobile devices while inside of a store, typically for items that are out of stock, not available in their preferred size or color, or from a competitor with a better price.

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