Could you tell us about your role and the team/technology you handle at Savings United?
As Group Commercial Director at Savings United, I oversee our commercial relationships with media houses and advertisers in 13 countries, with a particular focus on the US. Together with our media partners, our joint coupon platforms help advertisers achieve their business goals and ensure shoppers find the best discounts and deals.
How do you see Retail Technology (Retail Tech) evolving with the maturity of Mobile?
Mobile is already advancing the in-store shopping experience, which is leading to more mobile sales in bricks and mortar stores. It is bringing novel ways for customers to interact with brands, as well as the way they make purchases. There are some really interesting and innovative things happening within the world of mobile commerce right now.
For example, Whole Foods Market is introducing coffee made by robots! After ordering your coffee via an app or via an in-store touch screen terminal, your beverage of choice is then made by a robotic barista. It brings together the Internet of Things and mobile commerce in a really cool way. It results in a more streamlined, faster service for the consumer. This is essentially what customers have come to expect: increased convenience, minimized timelines from the point of order to fulfillment and it’s what mobile is even more capable of delivering.
How is Mobile Commerce different from the traditional forms of online commerce/e-commerce?
We now know that smartphone users in the US will spend just over three hours per day on their devices in 2019. So it’s no surprise that increasing numbers of shoppers are carrying out their purchases on their phones rather than on a computer.
Indeed, we also see a higher percentage of coupon users coming to us via mobile than desktop. There is an upward trend in mobile coupon use in the US. For example, it is expected that there will be 142.4 million mobile coupon users in the US by the end of 2019, which equates to more than half of the mobile phone population. We expect this number to continue to rise as consumers move away from more traditional ways of going online, such as via desktop, in favor of their mobiles.
While mobile provides the ability for people to simultaneously compare prices, discounts and deals while shopping in-store, research from Google gives a more nuanced picture. We have seen that there has been a 15% growth in mobile search queries that take place in stores. However, that doesn’t mean that shoppers are always looking up your competitors and whether they can get a cheaper deal elsewhere.
In fact, shoppers are more likely to be searching for more information about you and your brand. In addition, mobile means that customers can start their shopping from home, add various products to their cart, then come into the store to take a closer look and finalize their purchases, or the other way around. So with the rise and rise of mobile it’s paramount that retailers have unified bricks and clicks strategy.
What are your predictions on the future of AI and Conversational Voice in Mobile Commerce?
With 55% of all households in the US set to own a smart speaker by 2022, the use of Voice search and Voice commerce is likely to be huge in the next few years. In fact, it has been estimated that a whopping $40 billion USD will be spent through Voice shopping by 2022.
One of the interesting things that I look forward to seeing develop further is the potential for Voice Assistants to learn about users’ past shopping behavior, factoring criteria such as location, timing, frequency and number of products previously purchased, and then using that information to predict and serve the most relevant and useful coupons. AI and Voice provide the opportunity to crunch vast swathes of data to deliver personalized results and customer-centric search. Arguably, this could result in higher levels of coupon redemption as the technology improves shoppers will get the right coupon at exactly the right moment, which in turn boosts marketers’ ROI.
How do you prepare for these dramatic shake-ups in the industry as a result of data privacy and security standards?
With the GDPR in Europe and California Consumer Privacy Act on the horizon in the US, data privacy and protection is a big topic. Users want more personalized experience, but not too personalized so that it becomes intrusive. Security standards and ownership and use of data will be fundamental to the future of retail and e-commerce.
With affiliate cookies set to soon be a thing of the past, marketers are looking into various solutions for cookieless tracking. We decided to go for a ‘privacy by design’ approach in order to continue to target the appropriate digital audiences while remaining on the right side of privacy legislation.
Dan Cohen is the group commercial director at Savings United, the leading coupon partner of premium media companies.
Dan has worked in the Performance Marketing and Advertising industries for over 15 years, having held senior roles at Tradedoubler, Como and dgmAffiliates – as well as other multi-channel assignments. Dan brings a wealth of online marketing and traditional media, as well as online-to-offline, experience.