Going Mobile

A strong candidate for mobile solutions is the retail industry, an enormous business nationwide that includes apparel outlets, department stores, pharmacies, groceries, and discount, specialty and convenience stores. There are currently a number of strong reasons for a business to invest in mobile, including Generation Y, the search for more revenue growth, and cross channel marketing. Today’s Gen Y is not new, but is instead the same generation with an increased percentage of people who are used to using their mobile devices in ever wider circumstances. Older age groups have significant percentages adopting mobile as a medium for research and purchase. Currently, more than 36 percent of this age group uses smartphones for in-store shopping and real time cross channel offers, and are heavily influenced by social networks and the peer marketing recommendations of friends.

Additionally, according to the Aberdeen Group, 57 percent of retailers are seeking new sales and services channels, and the consumer’s mobile phone has emerged as a channel growth opportunity that offers customer engagement potential and incremental revenue options for retailers. Of the 129 retailers participating in a 2010 Aberdeen survey, more than 38 percent were at some stage of employing mobile retail technology or mobile channel adoption, compared with 18 percent at the end of 2008. Fifteen percent of all retailers were looking to adopt mobile solutions within the next year, and more than 22 percent of retailers were increasing their mobile marketing initiatives as part of their overall marketing mix.

One of the big talking points in the industry is mobile, and the opportunity to manage cross marketing initiatives beyond physical bricks and mortar. Mobile removes the physical barriers to retail sales and promotion of goods. Cross channel, in this instance, is strongly connected to the, “Reserve and Collect,” or, “Research and Collect,” activity, in which consumers are encouraged to come to the physical store to collect their goods, and also where additional up-sell and cross-sell opportunities exist. This is, in fact, not a difficult thing to achieve, as many shoppers prefer to collect goods than have them delivered. Typically, this is the case for families in which both parents work and are not at home to accept deliveries, or for single working young adults who are not often at home.

“With consumers continuing to be more careful with their dollar as their cross channel shopping expectations rise, retailers will find that a seamless cross channel experience will be critical in capturing wallet share,” says Jim Bengier, global retail industry executive for Sterling Commerce. “Retailers who have their order management and inventory visibility processes in place will be best positioned to incorporate the mobile channel into the consumer shopping experience, to take advantage of the growing consumer interest.” This story was adapted from a report in eCommerce Times.