Mobile Marketing: The Case of AbeBooks.com

| January 28, 2008 | Reply

[tweetmeme]Media intelligence firm SNL Kagan released a study in August 2007 estimating that 84% of the U.S. population, including consumer, business and double users, will have mobile phones by the end of 2007, with this percentage surging past 100% by 2013. As more users increase their usage of mobile devices, mobile marketing will grow by leaps and bounds in the coming years.


One company that has aggressively used mobile marketing to reach their target audience is textbook online retailer AbeBooks.com. Their main target market — the youth — are so immersed in text messaging, so they decided to use this medium to influence how they shop for textbooks.

Using text messaging, the company conducted a test wherein students on the lookout for textbooks in bookstores can compare the bookstore prices with the prices in their website. The students text AbeBooks.com the ISBN number of the book, and the company will send them the price for new copies of the textbook. If the students decide to buy from AbeBooks.com, they will simply text the company “fwd” with their email addresses. AbeBooks.com will reply to the email provided the link to the book from their website, and the students can buy the book online at their conveniece.

Lesson to be Learned:

The strategy is brilliant, as you literally snatch a customer from another store to buy from you. Imagine the potential of this strategy if this is adapted more widely by online retailers!

However, for this strategy to work, the business must attract price conscious customers, and the price difference must be significant to make the buyers decide to buy online ignore the shipping fees, of which there are none if they were to buy from the stores.

Technology is another important consideration. For the strategy to work, you need to respond instanteneously to the text message of the customer. You only have a few seconds to snatch the customer from the store, hence you need someone to watch for text messages coming in from customers 24/7. That means no sleep for you, or you need to hire employees by shifts. Or you can buy the technology that can make this whole operation happen, which alas, may be expensive for those with limited resources.

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Category: Online Marketing

About the Author ()

Isabel Isidro is a small business owner who writes about her experiences in starting and running a business. She is the co-founder of PowerHomeBiz.com and also runs WomenHomeBusiness.com

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