It really takes two things for mobile retail to become the norm…it has to be high on the agenda of the major brands and it has to be an expectation of the consumer. We’re making progress on both fronts. A recent survey by Internet Retailer shows that 79% of retailers now find mobile commerce important, a 20% increase over last year. That’s not just a big jump, but represents critical mass for an industry that has been dragging its feet when it comes to truly allowing shoppers to have a great experience on a mobile device.
Internet Retailer puts it this way:
Mobile commerce Luddites are becoming harder to find among retailers, as more merchants focus on making it easy for consumers to shop via their smartphones and tablets.
The foot dragging was probably in large part due to a lack of systems integration that could support the mobile interface. Many large retailers are playing serious catch up when it comes to integrating inventory, loyalty, and point of sale.
This is half the battle for the the future of mobility, with the other half being the preferences of people like you and me.
If you’re like many, you tried out mobile shopping a couple of years ago, when hype was in full swing. You found the experience frustrating, a difficult eye test and a scroll-arama. You gave up and decided to try it again at some future point when retailers have their act together.
Well, they’re getting there. Supermarket News reported last week that 20% of consumers have downloaded a supermarket app and most use it regularly. 80% said they use it for coupons and 57% for coupons. That’s till a cost-savings rationale but at least they’re on the path to customer engagement.
Things will get far more interesting when the consumers head to their mobile apps for more than savings. That will require brands to develop strong strategies for customer interaction that take into account customer preferences and history as well as figuring out the best timing for engagement.
Sounds a lot like loyalty.