As mobile commerce becomes more commonplace and more retailers acknowledge the need to have a website that is not only fully transactional but also mobile ready, mobile advertising and mobile search advertising is becoming increasingly important to brands. In addition to mobile commerce, there are exciting ways that retailers can integrate mobile with the in store experience.
As near field communication (NFC) technology becomes more commonplace, mobile phones will essentially become ‘mobile wallets.’ Credit card details will be stored in the wallet as well as any special offers, vouchers or loyalty schemes that retailers participate in. This will enable consumers to buy goods in-store with a swipe of their phone or online without having to enter any of their credit card details, which will drive m-commerce and mobile search forward at an exponential rate.
Backed by Google
Google has backed this concept with the introduction of Google Wallet, in order to provide brands with a much more seamless and measurable route for customers to purchase. For example, a consumer can search for a particular product, follow a paid search advert to an online offer, save the voucher to their “wallet” (where their credit card details already reside), synchronise their ‘wallet’ from their desktop to their mobile device and swipe this in-store to redeem the offer. This represents significant opportunity for pure promotional tactics as well as generating rich data on buyer behaviour, offering a simple but effective way to implement and track multi-channel campaigns.
Opportunities for Affiliates
For affiliate marketers, whose business model is dependent on performance and the ability to deliver results, Google Wallet looks like it could offer a real opportunity to close the loop between customer behaviour, marketing activity and sales success. For example, once an offer is redeemed in-store, immediate sales data would then pass back into the affiliate network and the affiliate could be paid for its contribution to the sale. This will give all parties in the process the ability to analyse and optimise campaigns in near real time, through the visibility that integrating all of the steps in the process provides.
Until the exact details of the API for Google Wallet are released, we cant be sure that Affiliate Marketing could be supported. That said Google now has the second largest US affiliate network, so it would seem likely.
Leverage the online-offline opportunities with click-to-call
From everything we have heard about Google Wallet ahead of its launch it appears to offer a fantastic mechanism for tracking performance from online to offline. However, ahead of the launch there is another way that affiliates can show their impact in driving offline sales.
Call tracking, where affiliate marketers can be rewarded for a call that leads to a telephone sale, or a prescribed number of minutes on a sales call – typically through including a unique number as part of their advert, has been around for the past three years and we are already seeing some great returns from it. This is particularly true in sectors where the products are high involvement purchases.
However, despite significant increases in the use of mobile for search and commerce, we’re not seeing anything near an equivalent rise in the number of click-to-call affiliate campaigns being offered. This is potentially due to the perceived high cost of call centres when compared to the cost of a sale being made exclusively online.
The Google Wallet Advantage
With more and more consumers interacting with companies across multiple channels and on multiple occasions, Google Wallet potentially presents affiliates with an opportunity to demonstrate and increase their performance against other competing marketing disciplines.
The ability to track online to in-store creates a new dimension and will deliver deeper insight to help shape the future of marketing, which in turn will help to deliver significant returns. Looked at it in this light, Google Wallet could be too good an opportunity for affiliates to ignore – I’m certainly looking forward to seeing how it evolves.