Commerce Insights: An interview with Business Director, Pontomobi
With mCommerce sales steadily increasing, and mobile playing an increasingly important role throughout the customer journey - regardless of the channel of purchase, brands and retailers cannot afford to ignore mobile.
To find out more about the mobile commerce opportunity, specifically in the Brazilian market, we spoke to Renato Virgili, Business Director of our sister company Pontomobi, Linked by Isobar, a mobile solutions provider based in Sao Paolo. Here’s what he had to say.
What changes have you seen in the role of mobile in Brazil over the last few years?
When Pontomobi was founded in 2007, mobile was still in its early stages, with most consumers using their phones primarily for calling. However 2007 also marked the launch of the iPhone, and with it brands and retailers started to wake up to the bigger mobile opportunity.
Over the following years, Pontomobi developed its mobile services offering, with mobile usually intended to support larger marketing campaigns, running in parallel with other channels, which often resulted in a siloed approach. With many consumers in Brazil and other South American markets accessing the Internet for the first time via smartphone, this is now changing, as brands and retailers focus more on optimising the role of mobile in the context of the end-to-end customer experience.
Today we’re seeing huge growth in mobile in Brazil, with retailers making huge advancements in digital. In particular, we’re seeing brands and retailers here focus on really understanding why people use mobile apps, and using this knowledge to optimise their mobile customer experience – whether the primary purpose of the app is customer service, customer loyalty and retention, or transaction.
What does a great mobile customer experience look like to you?
The best mobile experiences are rooted in great UX, providing a highly usable interface that allows consumers to do exactly what they want, easily, in exactly the way they want. Convenience is a huge driver of mobile commerce, particularly in Brazil where the shopping experience is often very long and complex. Since many mobile experiences in Brazil are still very clunky, those retailers that can offer a simple, easy-to-use interface, and make it easy for consumers to find the information they need, compare products, and so on, will be the success stories.
What’s your favourite mobile customer experience?
Although perhaps predictable, I’d have to say Amazon. Although Amazon Brazil currently only delivers books and music, it’s easy to find yourself scrolling through products due to the intuitive interface and the impression that Amazon really knows you as a customer.
Whilst the interface is not particularly beautiful, the mobile site and app are very easy to use, enabling consumers to find and purchase what they want and need, and removing friction from the process. This is particularly significant for essentials - people don’t want to buy shampoo, they just want it in their bathroom.
What do you think is going to be the biggest game changer in mobile for retailers over the next three years?
I believe there is a real opportunity for retailers in the increasing popularity of voice-activated devices such as Amazon Echo, Google Home, and so on. Whilst voice assistants and chatbots do not always deliver great results currently, relying largely on decision trees, they are certain to evolve over the coming years, and retailers need to keep on top of the latest developments.
Another key challenge and opportunity will be around managing customer data effectively across different channels. Those brands that can analyse customer behaviours, leveraging big data and machine learning, in order to add real value on top of just delivering products will be the ones that succeed.
What’s your opinion on mobile apps? Should all retailers have one?
Since the turn of the decade, we’ve seen a proliferation of mobile apps. In the past, many retailers wanted to have an app just because their competitors had one. However thankfully this is changing, as retailers recognise that they don’t necessarily need a mobile app, but should instead be mobile-oriented. In recognition of the fact that many people are searching for products and businesses predominantly via mobile, retailers should focus on optimising their mobile website and on improving SEO. If you do offer an app, it needs to offer a highly relevant and unique service, supporting both customer and business needs.
What is your top piece of advice for retailers looking to review their mobile commerce offering? Where should they start?
Carefully consider your overall digital proposition before you start. Whilst I believe all retailers should have a mobile site, they do not necessarily need to sell everything on it. Think carefully about what you are trying to achieve through mobile.
Chopp Brahma Express is a great example of how brands are keeping up with the changing nature of consumer expectations in Brazil and worldwide. The draft beer keg delivery service, available in Brazil via both a mobile site and app, demonstrates the huge potential of mobile commerce, as well as the importance for retailers of ensuring they have the appropriate back-end processes in place to support their desired customer experience.
Keen to find out more about the mobile commerce opportunity? Check out our latest article – How to optimise your mobile customer experience – produced in coordination with Fetch, to get practical mobile CX and UX tips.