by CIO Executive Council

How to Win at Mobile Ecommerce

Mar 20, 20134 mins
E-commerce SoftwareMobileSmall and Medium Business

CIOs at Yum Brands and iCrossing say the hallmarks of mobile ecommerce are simplicity, convenience and engagement.

Two CIOs offer their advice and strategy on how to win at mcommerce:

Know Your Mobile Consumers

Baron Concors, CIO, Yum Restaurants International: As the largest global operator of restaurants in the world, Yum Brands has more than 38,000 restaurants in over 120 countries and territories. Between KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut, we are opening approximately four restaurants per day worldwide.

Our strategy is to be everywhere our customers want us to be, and increasingly that means ensuring we have best-in-class online and mobile ordering sites. Our digital strategy is localized to individual regions, countries and markets, so we’re very attuned to the levels of technology adoption in those markets by consumers, both in terms of broadband services and smartphones.

For instance, while Qatar has high mobile-device penetration, consumers there are less comfortable with online ordering. Meanwhile, in Australia, they order everything online. We adapt our strategy accordingly, depending on the circumstances.

In food service, the conversion rate online is probably 10 times what it is in a traditional retail environment, and the operational savings are significant; taking an order online is around 80 percent cheaper than a call center, and people purchase more through online and mobile ordering.

Ease of use dictates success or failure in digital ordering. Amazon is the standard; people love it because you can order something in one click. When people come to our site, it’s not to learn about what we do, it’s to order food. So we ensure that the ordering workflow is simple, streamlined and fast–easier than a phone call.

We also bring in experts, true masters of usability who design online and mobile ordering experiences for a living. They quickly point out where changing and optimizing things results in much better sales and better conversion.

Consumers will always gravitate to what is easiest. With KFC, for example, mobile ordering has to be more convenient or faster than walking in and ordering or going through the drive-thru. And there are operational changes we must make.

A customer shouldn’t place an online order only to have to wait in line to pick up their food. In France, our customers love that we have set up dedicated pickup counters for online customers so they bypass all lines and get their order quickly.

Speed and Simplicity Win the Race

Dave Corchado, CIO, iCrossing: On a mobile platform, everything from finding a product to purchasing it needs to be simplified because speed is what determines success.

It’s possible to take a website and wrap a presentation layer around it so the content can be viewed on a mobile device, but as a digital marketing agency, we know that’s not going to be a successful strategy.

Mobile users are generally looking for something specific, and they need to find it in a very brief amount of time–they’re waiting in line, or at a restaurant eating lunch. And a lot of this mobile activity isn’t geared around purchasing but comparing.

They’re in a store, and they want to scan a bar code to make sure they’re getting the best deal. They should be able to click on a button to add an item to the shopping cart, and the cart should be integrated with a one-click payment process. Simplify everything, from start to sale.

Another challenge that is paramount to mobile is that in order to maximize the device’s capabilities, you need to have a highly specific code base for the different ecosystems, including Google, Microsoft and Apple.

Developing a mobile strategy takes time, since it’s about how user engagement is going to work on mobile devices. We have teams of mobile experts, including our VP of Technology Services Shiva Vannavada, who work with clients to develop the strategy, and then from that, a technical implementation plan.

Marketers and retailers need to have as much insight as possible into the mobile user–what they are looking for, what they have looked for previously, what device they have and how they are coming to the site, such as from Facebook or a Google search. You have to know this in a split second, and then transform that insight into content that is presented on a very small screen.

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