How is Mobile Changing Retail?

24 Nov 15

Last week at Apps World I attended a very interesting session with RetailMeNot’s SVP and GM International, Giulio Montemagno, on “Mobile technology, the silent retail revolution.” In essence, the world of retailing is in the midst of a revolution. Mobile phones have become our steady companions, and consumers are making abundant use of mobile devices as part of their purchase journey, not only online, but wherever they go. In their minds, they’re already multichannel. For retailers, this mobile disruption forces them to rethink their business model; they need to consider how to deliver a “mobile-first” approach to ensure efficient customer relations at all customer touchpoints.

Giulio explored how mobile is changing the retail space and provided real-world examples of how mobile is creating new shopping behaviors and how retailers can take advantage of this new customer journey. Here’s a few stats to consider:

  • Customers spend two hours a day on mobile devices.
  • Mobile sales increased from £3.7bn in 2013 to a projected £22.7bn in 2016 – but conversion rates are still lagging behind desktop.
  • 86% of consumers start the shopping journey in one channel and end it in a different one.
  • 63% of UK shoppers would spend more with retailers that show greater mobile engagement.
  • £41 more is spent offline when previous product research is done online, compared to £31 spent when product research done in-store.
  • Only 16% of retailers offer same offers on both mobile and in-store.
  • How are consumers using mobile? 77% for Price comparison, 75% for reading reviews, 73% for checking retailer stats, 70% for researching offers, 69% for checking product availability.
  • What’s holding mobile back? 64% Website slow to load, 46% security, 45% screen not optimized.

Opportunity to Engage/ Multi-Channel Customers Spend More

It is clear that shoppers are yearning for retailers to reach out and engage with them. Mobile device usage is on the rise (and there seems no chance of it slowing down) and consumers spend more money with retailers that engage with them online. Businesses need to think about their mobile app/website as the virtual equivalent of the physical store. You need to delight your customers by offering a high quality user experience and an app or site that complements your store. You want your customers to be ambassadors of your store – and your app and website should be part of that strategy.

Mobile Isn’t Good Enough Yet

The second stat above is hugely important. Conversion rates are still lagging behind desktop; consumers aren’t valuing their experience on mobile enough yet. Mobile is not good enough. Why? 64% of consumers believe websites to be too slow on mobile. This is a fundamental issue for a lot of retailers, and one that could be easily solved by focusing on your data. Delivering fast, real-time information to your shoppers on a mobile app or website requires managing your data in a way that doesn’t cause your app or website to slow down. Timeliness is vital to your success – you have to think about how you’re managing your data.

Retailers have to increase footfall in their stores, grow multi-channel revenues and fuel brand loyalty amongst shoppers – if they can just get their mobile strategy right.

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