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BLOG: The mobile commerce revolution will be messy

Galen Gruman | July 1, 2013
It's a Wild West of competing apps and services for both payments and shopping tools.

"The industry is trying to shove down consumers' throats notions from the 1970s like coupons and promotions, whether you like it or not, because 0.1 percent of you might respond," said Patrick Gauthier, head of emerging services at PayPal, during a panel at M-Commerce World. That "0.1 percent" comment is key — that's about the response rate that postal junkmail needs to be cost-effective. Without the printing and delivery of paper, the profitable response rate for mobile spam will be even lower, meaning it'll be of very high appeal to retailers, banks, and others.

Interest in such ad-spamming possibilities has been greatly heightened this year by all the excitement marketers have over big data analysis and their goal to create rich customer profiles they can then use to manipulate the buying public. It's a commercial Big Brother in the making.

Gauthier is all for big data analysis, but not for use for advertising, coupons, and other spammy pitches. He says the key is to use big data analytics to improve the experience, personalize it, and gain deep knowledge of customers to make better decisions as to what to sell, when to stock, how to support, what questions and issues can be smoothed away, and so on. If the experience is better, the customer will be more loyal — without bothering everyone else.

There's a lot to be worked out in m-commerce, and we'll see good ideas and bad ideas alike both succeed and fail.


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