Mobile marketing for the future

December 20, 2011 By Kim McGrath

Bar code scanner apps turn smart phone cameras into a way for shoppers to receive instant, on-the-go, online price comparisons for any item with a Universal Product Code. Does this mean consumers are moving toward online purchasing if they can buy at a cheaper price?

“A brand’s value is a function of the benefits it delivers to relative to the cost of acquiring those benefits. I challenge my students to think about enhancing benefits to increase value, rather than simply cutting price,” says Associate Professor of Marketing Sheri Bridges. “Price is the easiest marketing decision variable to change and the one that’s changed the most often. But the discount spiral is difficult to get out of once it starts, and if it’s easy for you to do, it’s just as easy for your competitors.”

Students in Bridges’ class learn that good marketing is about providing the right value to the right customers. “Discounting amounts to paying customers to like your brand. That’s rarely a sustainable long-term strategy.”

In addition to teaching, Bridges is the faculty director for the University’s recently launched retail marketing center, which is working to find innovative strategies to capitalize on mobile technologies that benefit manufacturers, retailers and consumers.

comScore survey found that 6 percent of the total mobile audience, scanned a QR code in June 2011. And 54 percent of those people who scanned QR codes have a household income of $75,000 or more. Mobile barcode scanning increased 1,600 percent globally during 2010.

“We are just beginning to incorporate smart phones into marketing strategies,” Bridges says. “This technology has the potential to change the shopping experience and provide added value to consumers that may help reverse the reliance on price reductions.”

Examples of marketing trends that connect consumers and their with improved shopping experiences include a major retailer’s use of a 42-inch in-store touch screen where customers can shop a full online catalog and scan bar codes for extra information and product recommendations; and smart phone apps that offer location-based gaming, dispensing rewards to consumers for checking-in to stores.

“When a brand goes on sale, it gives away part of the profit margin needed to invest in innovation and quality,” Bridges says. “As we look toward the future of retail, marketers must find alternatives to discounting. Companies cannot afford to develop the newer and better products we all want if we continue to lower prices and reduce profits.”

Explore further: Paying less for goods, services may cost more in the long run

Related Stories

Gas versus groceries

March 10, 2011

A University of Alberta researcher says grocery retailers need to take heed that a jump at the pumps will be a blow to their bottom line. Alberta School of Business professor Yu Ma notes that if stores want to survive, they’ll ...

Marketing expert tracks online shoppers

November 28, 2011

Online retailers have long wondered if trumpeting consumer-behavior statistics on their websites could hurt business. Qi Wang’s new findings should ease their fears, just in time for Cyber Monday.

Recommended for you

Just how good (or bad) is the fossil record of dinosaurs?

August 28, 2015

Everyone is excited by discoveries of new dinosaurs – or indeed any new fossil species. But a key question for palaeontologists is 'just how good is the fossil record?' Do we know fifty per cent of the species of dinosaurs ...

Fractals patterns in a drummer's music

August 28, 2015

Fractal patterns are profoundly human – at least in music. This is one of the findings of a team headed by researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization in Göttingen and Harvard University ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.