Say Hello to My Little Friend

More and more our smartphones are becoming our most handy go-to resource, or as I like to call it, “my little friend.” Not quite as large, powerful and destructive as the machine gun Al Pacino whips out in the 1983 film Scarface, but ultimately way more helpful and much more deserving of the label “little friend.”

And smartphones ARE so very helpful. Besides allowing us to talk to anyone anywhere (assuming we’re not out of range), they help get us where we need to go, keep us connected to friends, family and all global. Anything we need, chances are there’s something that’s either on your smartphone or can be added to it to make our lives a little easier. In other words, there’s an app for that!

According to Digital Marketing, book three of the SMstudy™ Guide, “optimizing the mobile channel, which includes both the mobile websites and mobile apps, should never be neglected and specific focus should be paid to optimizing this channel to achieve maximum reach, enhance relationships with customers and to support a company’s reputation.”

Considering recent statistics from Google, the SMstudy™ Guide is correct to suggest that mobile should not be ignore or even placed on the back burner… especially if your business is retail. Google global search data from November 2014- October 2015 revealed that shopping-related searches have increased by 120% in the last year. Additionally, from a 2015 study based on 5,398 internet users we learn that 82% of shoppers consult their smartphones on purchases they’re about to make in a store…sometimes while in the checkout line.

Wow. That really can’t be ignored.

With this data in mind, mobile marketers are on an innovative kick and keen to connect with consumers during what is now being called micro-moments, or moments according to Google when “consumers’ expectations are higher than ever. The powerful computers we carry in our pockets have trained us to expect brands to immediately deliver exactly what we are looking for when we are looking. We want things right, and we want things right away.”

One such identified micro-moment occurs while customers are actually in a physical store. In response to the mind-blowing fact noted above (82% of shoppers say they consult their smartphones purchases they’re about to make in a store), our “little friends” can now tell us a bit more information about a product we’re considering buying.  Sephora, the beauty product retailer actively encourages customers to scan products into the Sephora app, where they will receive additional product information and ratings.

Other retailers are beefing up their geographic “searchabilty” based on recent data showing that “Near Me” searches have grown substantially year-over-year and that 18 percent of local searches end in a purchase.

Responding to our ever-growing desire for mobile-centric “helpers” marketers are recognizing that the shopping experience begins way before a customer walks in the front door. Providing information during the micro-moments when consumers are seeking relevant, helpful and oftentimes local information, is key to keeping customers around.

Optimism regarding this new data is wonderful if it leads to new and creative ways to help consumers navigate the retail experience. But beware, at some point too many “pushes” from retailers ceases to be helpful and can potentially become a nuisance. But for now it’s all well and good as long as our “little friends” know how to stay helpful and not turn into little frenemies that end up blowing up in our faces. Remember poor Antonio Montana and his little friend?

To read more interesting articles, visit


SMstudy™ Guide, Book 3, Digital Marketing. Available at

“Five Ways Consumers Connect to Stores With Mobile Shopping,” Matt Lawson. February 2016.

“Consumers in the Micro-Moment” study, March 2015.


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