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Retail Trends 2014: #6 – Mobility Convergence

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Mobility Convergence
Mobile continues to transform retailing as digital technology not only alters the way in which the Connected Consumer shops but who controls the relationship. From social interactions and marketing to commerce and in-store experiences, mobile technology will be the bridge that connects digital and physical shopping experiences for retailers as they strive to deliver omni-channel shopping experiences.
Here’s a run-down of the top mobile innovations in response to current consumer behaviors:
Mobile Commerce – IBM reported that during Black Friday weekend mobile accounted for 48% of online traffic with mobile sales up 40% year-over-year. An interesting statistic in the report that retailers need to consider with mobile commerce strategies and development was that smartphones were the device of choice for browsing while tablets were responsible for a larger percentage of online sales. To reduce shopping cart abandonment and to streamline the customer experience across channels, retailers need to take a mobile-first approach to design. According to Adobe, more than 45% of businesses do not have a mobile-friendly website. Make website optimization for mobile a top priority in 2014. Retail marketers need to pay particular attention to mobile as a vast majority of social media users access social networks on mobile. Those that can effectively integrate mobile marketing and social commerce into shopper marketing programs will reap the rewards from “always-on” mobile shopping. MobileFS_shutterstock_96097880
Mobile Payments – The impending mobile payments revolution will continue be a major digital disruptor in the retail industry. Although a real winner has not emerged a handful of key payment technology players have  In Juniper Research’s latest forecast, the analyst firm said global annual retail payments would reach $707 billion by 2018. The scale of consumer purchases across mobile and tablet devices are increasing as retailers implement mobile strategies to facilitate payments and centralize customer data as well as build shopper loyalty. Mobile payments reduce the friction of the buying experience and can be combined with mobile coupons, rewards and loyalty programs to incentivize the consumer.
Showrooming – Retailers should no longer consider showrooming as a threat but rather an opportunity for growth. One of the best weapons to combat this practice at brick and mortar stores is indeed the original driver of showrooming – technology itself. Leveraging mobile in stores is one of the best and most efficient ways to deliver value to the shopper. Popular geo-location merchant apps like Shopkick use loyalty and rewards as a way to entice shoppers to window shop and purchase products in-store and now on their mobile devices. Retailers can deploy tablet devices equipped with mobile point-of-sale (POS) capabilities and a price match option for immediate purchase to further combat showrooming.
Mobile Point-of-Sale (POS) Systems – Mobile POS devices are becoming more full-featured to include inventory checking, ordering and product information. Equipping sales associates with mobile devices and tablets to accept payments from the sales floor elevates the level of customer service and sales. The consumerization of tablets has prompted innovations in retailer technology to respond to consumer shopping preferences. The iPad itself can be turned into a full-blown mobile cash register and the growth of Square’s mobile credit card reader may one day find its way into brick and mortar stores and pop-up shops. Apps like Shopify allow retailers to sell products in a physical, retail setting and integrate inventory, product catalogs and payments into one centralized platform, thus eliminating many of the retailer headaches associated with replacing POS systems.
Digital Clienteling – We talked about digital clienteling as a means of creating personalized shopping experiences. I think we’ll see a lot more activity from high-end specialty retailers following in Burberry’s footsteps with deploying mobile devices and building in-store apps to allow for more personal in-store interactions and product recommendations.
Similar to other digital trends we’re seeing, roadblocks exist when implementing data-driven and mobile-ready stores. Enterprise visibility to product and customer data is still a challenge for retailers and legacy systems cannot support new digital capabilities without significant upgrades.
Retailers that can quickly overcome legacy and data challenges, make smart technology investments, leverage existing systems, and expose other services through APIs as part of a comprehensive digital strategy will thrive in the era of the Connected Consumer. Mobile is a critical component to a retailer’s overall strategy and will continue to be an enabler and game-changer for retailers in years to come. To be successful with mobile, there are three key success factors to engaging the Connected Consumer: personalization, contextualization and geo-location. Will your mobile strategy stand the test of time throughout the industry’s state of constant digital disruption?

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Elizabeth Dias

Elizabeth Dias is an experienced technology marketing strategist focused on the financial services and retail industry at Perficient. With over nine years of experience as a professional business-to-business (B2B) marketer, Elizabeth is knowledgeable in technology strategies for the financial services industry focusing on mobile banking and payments, data analytics, and enterprise information management. She also closely follows the fintech community as well as tech trends in social and digital, and is also an active blogger and thought leader on Twitter (@techmktggirl).

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