Retailers, It's Time To Embrace Mobile
Why remaking the in-store experience is integral to Retail success
The last report from eMarketer on Digital trends (Sep 2013) shows that, for the first time ever, people in the US now spend more time on mobile than on a desktop or laptop. That ratio was still 1:6 in favour of the desktop just three years ago. Many websites now see their actual usage, in terms of pages views and time spent, decrease in absolute value. If this is not compensated by mobile usage, that means their presence on the net is actually decreasing.
One industry that is still ambiguous about the rise of mobile is retail. Stuck between an ever-growing innovation-driven Amazon, and consumer show-rooming habits (where they decide what to buy in the store but actually buy it from another brand online,) retailers are still missing what the rising usage of mobile will bring them. Smartphones are the interactive multi-media mice that people are going to use, to browse 3D-physical websites that we still call 'shops'.
Payments from mobile phones are become more and more mainstream thanks to applications such as Starbucks and Uber. The retail industry is ripe for another revolution. Online mobile interaction has huge potential for the retail sector. Personalised services straight to mobiles will help keep customers in the store longer, encouraging them to make that purchase and capturing their attention before they leave empty handed.
We are finally seeing tangible pilots showcasing these new technologies. One example is location-based targeting tool ibeacon. It has the ability to detect nearby iO7 devices and can then send out special push notifications, which in a retail setting is ideal to alert customers to special offers and exciting news. ibeacon is starting to become more and more popular in the US retail space, not only used by Apple, but by other retails chains such as a Safeway stores and fashion retailer Kate Spade. Needless to say, the whole experience is enhanced by your mobile phone. It won't be long before most products in shops have QR codes or short text links allowing you to get more information or even talk/chat to a sales assistant, allowing you to check-out and pay seamlessly and instantly before leaving with the actual goods.
Don't forget your mobile phone when you go shopping. 2014 is the year where mobile usage in stores will be finally driven by retailers themselves as they thrive to enhance your shopping experience.