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Retailers beginning to embrace the opportunity from mobile devices

There has been much talk of mobile as a game-changer for retailers and it is now finally becoming a reality, according to Javelin Group, which says it is building increasing numbers of mobile-optimised sites that are delivering significant conversion rates.By Glynn Davis

INTERVIEWS

Retailers beginning to embrace the opportunity from mobile devices

There has been much talk of mobile as a game-changer for retailers and it is now finally becoming a reality, according to Javelin Group, which says it is building increasing numbers of mobile-optimised sites that are delivering significant conversion rates.By Glynn Davis

Ahead of presenting at the forthcoming Retail Bulletin 2nd Mobile Retailing Summit 2012 in London on September 26, Fraser Davidson, director at Javelin Group, outlines some of his thinking on the major role mobile is beginning to play in the retail sector.

“We’ve been building more mobile sites, including standalone sites, and virtually all e-commerce projects now have mobile as a second step. With 20% of transaction by mobile we believe retailers will lose customers if they do not have a mobile-optimised site. And for these sites the conversion rates are high, otherwise it is low,” he suggests.

The tablet is also playing an increasing role and rather than deciding whether it is akin to a mobile phone or a desktop Davidson says it should be regarded as a third discrete device. “It will be used at different times to these other devices so you need a mobile solution for tablets that probably offers a richer experience and that’s interactive and highly graphical,” he says, adding that as a result retailers need to identify which devices are accessing their basic e-commerce site.

This then makes it possible to provider an improved experience as Davidson suggests retailers should ideally develop tailored sites for the top eight devices that access their sites. He therefore recommends they have a responsive design to their basic site that can easily adapt to different devices accessing it.

Other strategic considerations for mobile over the next few years should include: NFC, although he believes it might be relevant primarily just for payments; 4G and its wider implications; self-installing apps that enable customers to load them up and utilise their functionality when entering a store and which are then de-installed when they leave the store.

When linking up the in-store experience with mobile devices then Davidson says there are “limitless options” and he cites the opportunity to scan QR codes on clothing and receive offers on all relevant accessories, or to scan the QR code when the retailer is out of stock of the relevant size and to enable the customer to then automatically order it for delivery to their home. And then there is NFC for mobile payments.

There are also equally exciting opportunities for mobile to improve the out-of-store experience for shoppers, according to Davidson, who says the ability to do stock checks, buy goods, order items, undertake store look-ups, and to receive targeted promotions when walking past a store are all a possibility with existing technologies. This will be improved with 4G as he says “it will then allow mobiles to be serious transactional tools with rich interfaces”.

But for retailers to deliver the best out-of-store experience he suggests they should start with mobile-optimised sites that have lighter page weights and faster load speeds and adhere to the best practice of also employing these techniques to their base e-commerce site. “This will give the best access, especially for new device launches,” he says. 

As for the future, Davidson says retailers should have some basic components within their mobile strategies, which includes: recognition of new handsets including the new Windows phones that effectively bring the desktop onto mobile devices; 4G; realising the opportunity to interact with more in-store devices; giving a personalised experience to consumers on the move; and utilising the mobile devices as a smart shopping assistant.

Keep up-to-date with the latest mobile retailing ideas by atending the Retail Bulletin's Mobile Retailing Summit 26th September 2012. The theme of the day is How to improve sales, loyalty and customer experience in an increasing mobile marketplace.  Speakers and panelists for this event include: The Carphone Warehouse, • Waitrose.com • ASDA • Shop Direct Group • Carphone Warehouse • Thetrainline.com • Ladbrokes •Chiltern Railways •Javelin Group •Mobileweb Company •FICO •Hailo •Mobile Money Network.To make sure of your place and view the full programme, click here.

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