December 09, 2014

Diagnosing Customer Behavior In Mobile

In Hillstrom's Diagnostics (click here for your copy), I talk about using a comp segment analysis to measure changes in customer behavior.

In this case, I am using annual comps to understand how customers with exactly two purchases in the past year behave in the next twelve months.

The top portion of the table illustrates the comp dollar values, the bottom portion of the table illustrates comp percentages.

What do you observe?

Demand through the call center is in decline, as has been the case for nearly twenty years. But look at online demand (desktop / laptop). After peaking in 2012, demand is in decline.

Mobile site (tablet + phone) peaked in 2013, and now that, too, is in decline.

This company has a mobile app ... as you can see, demand is rapidly accelerating within this marketing channel.

What do you observe, in total?

For the past three years, productivity is flat.

If this is what you observe, then your customers are simply shifting channels. Mobile does not truly add value (from a profit and loss standpoint), though it serves the purpose of facilitating changing customer behavior, and that's important. But you cannot, in this case, come to the conclusion that mobile is causing an increase in customer spend. You can simply conclude that mobile facilitates channel shift.

Nonetheless, this analysis should raise numerous strategic questions.

  1. Mobile accounted for 3% of customer demand three years ago, then 7% of customer demand two years ago, then 16% of customer demand one year ago, and 21% of customer demand today. In five years, what share of demand will be captured by mobile? 35%? 50%? 65%? What does it mean to the business if any of the three outcomes happens?
  2. What is the future of the traditional desktop / laptop website?
  3. What is the demographic / psychographic difference between the emerging mobile buyer, and the old-school desktop / laptop buyer?
  4. What are the merchandising preferences of the desktop / laptop buyer, and the mobile buyer?
Run the analysis, if your customer is under the age of 45. What did you learn?

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