Mobile calls to action drive engagement

Increased smartphone usage has led many retailers to consider mobile calls to action as a way to make shopping more convenient this holiday season, Mobile Marketer reports.

For example, eBay's recently opened pop-up store in New York features QR codes users can scan to purchase items, Mobile Commerce Daily reports. The news source notes in a separate article that Sears and Kmart have been placing ads in airports and bus shelters - places where on-the-go consumers are typical - to create branding opportunities and showcase popular items with attached QR codes.

"Rather than planning on the end user going to a store or walking by a window, retailers are trying to be where the user is when the user is there and lubricating that transaction," Tom Nawara, vice president of digital strategy and design for Chicago-based Acquity Group, told Mobile Marketer.

However, other options beyond QR codes exist in the mobile landscape as well - such as Microsoft Tags, text messaging and augmented reality.

The sheer number of possible angles a retailer can take has led to some confusion.

"There are a lot of choices and that is an issue," Stephen Burke, vice president of mobile at Columbus, Ohio-based Resource Interactive, told the media outlet. "Retailers should stick to one strategy and be consistent."

According to another article by Mobile Commerce Daily, each of these call-to-action options have their has its pros and cons.

For example, asking users to type a URL into a mobile phone works because it's easily understood by a broad consumer base. On the flip side, mobile remains a difficult space for character entry, which may slow down the prospective customer or force the person to quit altogether.

A text-based call to action requires users to send a specific five or six-digit code via text message. This is typically followed by an auto-reply with a link to content. This works because texting is also a well-understood medium that people are comfortable with. However, this method is more expensive and some mobile carriers may be wary of working with digital marketers.

Lastly, QR codes work because they're the simplest and most user-friendly of all methods, and deliver a "wow" factor that can influence brand perception. However, this also assumes the user has downloaded the correct QR software or application, which is far less familiar to the general mobile consumer.