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Monday Morning Mobile: The Great Debate

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By Seth Kaplan

Since the dawn of the iPhone and its acclaimed App Store, the debate amongst marketers, IT professionals, providers and decision makers rages on; does your brand need a Mobile Website or App. The jury is still out, and seemingly, the best strategy at present is not a one size fits all, but rather one tailored to your brand and marketing initiatives. However, as mobile usage increases, data can help discern what consumers are doing and what they are looking for from brands on their mobile devices.

A big focus for data miners over the past year has been in mobile retail since shoppers are the one’s spending the money. A new study from Siteworx shows that 65.7 percent of people surveyed prefer using the Mobile Website to downloading an app specifically for the retailer. In addition, the key driver in purchases for people using their mobile devices was product reviews and price comparisons. Putting oneself in the consumer’s shoes for a moment this would make sense. If you want to buy something and desire information on the product right away, it’s quicker and more efficient to have the ability to simply go the retailer’s website, which formats for my mobile device, than to first have to download their app.

If we translate this retail scenario into a real estate related scenario the argument can be made that the mentality would be very similar. A prospective homebuyer who sees a home that peaks their interest could conveniently go directly to the listing firm’s mobile website from their phone and plug in the address or use GPS to see all the information as opposed to first having to download their app. From there, that same consumer can see all the pictures and data as well as see prices on comparable items (homes for sale in the area) in order to help make their buying decision.

Mobile is all about convenience and the ability to garner real-time information, something all consumers want today, especially affluent consumers. According to Unity Marketing, mobile shopping among affluent luxury shoppers increased substantially in 2012; shopping or purchasing via mobile increased from 22 percent to 38 percent. Additionally, the number of affluents doing some kind of mobile product research more than doubled, increasing from 23 percent to 51 percent. In particular, of the younger affluent consumers, those under the age of 45, Unity Marketing found that 49 percent had shopped or made a purchase via their mobile phone. With these two demographics – affluent and young affluent being two of the primary homebuying demographics – real estate professionals should certainly stop and take notice as to what this group is doing and looking for.

While the data does not provide an answer to the great debate, it does help us identify the current consumer behavior. The more we know about our consumers, whether they are retail or real estate, the better we can tailor our marketing efforts to reach them in the manner that they prefer – which today is Mobile.

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