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Mobile content covers the gamut, from the implementation of mobile apps and mobile web sites to in-store mobile technology. A fast-changing industry segment, mobile presents unique challenges to today's retail organizations. This section will help retail executives stay on top of the latest news, insights and information to help solidify cross-channel strategies and draw traffic into stores.

KFC Fast Tracks Ordering In UK With AIRTAG Mobile Platform

KFC UK & Ireland partnered with AIRTAG, a provider of mobile ordering technology, to launch the first mobile and web app for ordering and payments at the quick service restaurant chain. Called KFC Fast Track, the app was developed using AIRTAG’s Airshop Solution. It features geolocation capabilities to identify the nearest KFC, mobile and web ordering and payment capabilities, anda mobile check-in feature for in-store order recall. It also enables customers to store their order history, favorite products and payment details KFC will pilot Airshop in 10 restaurants across the UK and the chain plans to strategically expand the system internationally, said Paul Borrett, IT Director of KFC UK & Ireland, in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “The UK was a great place to begin because of the predominance of mobile phones in the UK,” Borrett said. “Also, brand users in the UK are slightly younger, so it made for a perfect test market.”

Unicomer Group Partners With Starmount To Improve In-Store Shopping Experiences

Consumers are utilizing a wider variety of technologies and communication touch points to browse inventory, compare prices and complete purchases. To keep pace with these omnichannel browsing and buying strategies, retailers are investing in innovative tools and technologies such as mobile POS (mPOS). Unicomer Group, parent company to 10 brands that specialize in appliances, consumer electronics and furniture, has partnered with Starmount to bring mPOS to hundreds of store locations in Central America, the Caribbean, Ecuador and the U.S. Leveraging the Starmount Connect and Engage solutions, Unicomer employees can better connect with omnichannel shoppers and create more educational and satisfying brick-and-mortar interactions, according to Mario Ferman, VP of Technology at Unicomer Group.

ASOS Taps Mobile Apps To Share Content With Fashion-Savvy Consumers

Consumers leverage smartphone and tablet applications to interact with their favorite brands, as well as access detailed content such as articles, blogs and news announcements about new products and collections. In fact, 38% of tablet shoppers and 42% of smartphone shoppers say apps help strengthen brand recognition, according to recent research from Adobe. ASOS, a UK-based merchant of apparel and accessories for men and women, has amplified brand awareness, engagement and loyalty since releasing content-based apps for iPhones and iPads. With the apps, ASOS shares a variety of content relevant to customers, such as editorial on fashion trends and up-and-coming actors and musicians, according to Duncan Edwards, Editorial and Design Director at ASOS. The interactive mobile experiences were developed using the Adobe Digital Publishing Suite. The apps also empower consumers to browse inventory, complete transactions and share considered purchases with friends across social networks. As of March 2013, mobile constitutes one-fifth of all ASOS online traffic, Edwards explained, with 100,000 unique readers using the apps.

Moosejaw Exec: “MPOS Exceeds 70% Of All Transactions”

Mobile POS (mPOS) can help retailers across verticals create a more convenient and seamless in-store shopping process by allowing store associates to complete transactions in store aisles. Incorporating smartphones and tablets into associate-to-shopper interactions also can provide employees with instant access to inventory information, customer data and other relevant tools to create more compelling and enjoyable browsing and buying journeys. Moosejaw, a multichannel outdoor goods retailer, is a forward-thinking leader in mPOS execution. By implementing Apple iPod Touch devices in all stores, the retailer empowers associates to perform checkouts from anywhere on store selling floors. The devices feature CrossView technology, and are wrapped in Linea Pro barcode scanning and mag stripe reading hardware.

Best Buy Canada Pilots Mobile POS

An increasing number of retailers are planning to test and adopt mobile POS during 2013. A recent Motorola Solutions mPOS study uncovered that 75% of retailers currently using fixed computers for customer-facing strategies expect to transition to handheld computers, smartphones and tablets in the near future. Best Buy Canada is exploring mPOS strategies in stores to strengthen customer service initiatives, such as line-busting. Five Best Buy stores are trialing an mPOS system that combines Motorola ET1 enterprise tablets and MC40 smartphone-sized devices, according to Kevin Satterfield, Director of IT Application Development and Maintenance for Best Buy Canada.

Alex and Ani Improves Sales By 318% With Mobile POS

Retailers know that time-starved consumers want to avoid long lines at any cost, but also don’t want shoppers to miss out on exceptional retail experiences, which are driven by informed and passionate store associates. Alex and Ani, a lifestyle and accessories brand, is creating more compelling yet convenient shopping experiences by leveraging mPOS in stores. Since implementing iPod Touches touting a checkout application co-developed by Mobiquity, the retailer has seen a significant improvement in sales, as well as customer satisfaction and engagement across all store locations, according to Joe Lezon, CTO of Alex and Ani. During the 2012 holiday season alone, Alex and Ani increased sales by 318% over 2011 as result of the mPOS tools.

S Group Improves Order Picking By 50% With Digital Foodie Tablets

In an effort to expedite ordering and delivery of grocery products to customers, S Group has implemented the Foodie Shopkeeper tool from Digital Foodie, a provider of personalized e-Commerce platforms for grocers. As a result of replacing print documents with Foodie Shopkeeper, S Group has “improved the order picking process and decreased picking time by 50%,” according to Ilkka Alarotu, Director of Grocery Chain Management for Finland-based S Group. Learning to use the Foodie Shopkeeper tablet was an easy process for store employees designated as “pickers,” noted Alarotu. “All the pickers have been trained to use Foodie Shopkeeper, which is pretty straightforward solution to use so not much training was needed. Foodie Shopkeeper has been developed with the picking process in mind so basically the biggest change for the pickers was to replace paper and pen with an iPad.”

NFC Forum Launches NFC Special Interest Groups

Mobile payment education, acceptance and implementation continues to accelerate, especially in the Near Field Communication (NFC) technology sector. Recent estimates from Deloitte Consulting indicated that approximately 200 million mobile devices equipped with NFC capabilities were shipped during 2012, and that another 300 million would be sold in 2013. In an effort to drive NFC solution development, deployment and adoption, the NFC Forum recently launched segment-specific Special Interest Groups (SIGs). The groups were developed to connect leaders across verticals: Consumer electronics, health care, payment, retail, and transport. Together, these SIGs will collaborate to bring together top experts, NFC Forum members and solution developers to “share the business and technical needs of their industry, and to develop programs to support them,” according to a company press release. The NFC Forum SIGs were unveiled during a webcast, titled: NFC Goes Vertical. Speakers included Debbie Arnold, NFC Forum Director, as well as executives from MasterCard, Sony, Continua Health Alliance, GS1 and the International Air Transport Association.

Perry Ellis Boosts Customer Engagement With Mobile POS

More retailers are recognizing the variety of potential benefits they can gain by implementing mPOS in stores. For example, arming store associates and managers with tablets helps retailers improve customer service and increase shopper engagement, leading to a boost in brick-and-mortar sales. Perry Ellis is among the latest retailers to implement mPOS in stores. Prior to Black Friday, Perry Ellis adopted iPads featuring Starmount Connect and Engage in 17 top-selling locations. Due to the success of the holiday pilot, Perry Ellis plans to bring m-POS to all 45 locations nationwide by the end of Q1 2013.

Sephora Sees 167% Boost In Mobile Orders During 2012

Mobile has become an essential shopping tool for consumers. In fact, during the 2012 holiday season, 80% of smartphone and tablet users tapped their devices to browse and buy inventory, according to research from Google. To keep pace with these mobile behaviors, retailers must strive to create more seamless experiences across digital and physical channels. Sephora actively pursues this goal by investing in cutting-edge mobile strategies that address consumers’ growing dependence on tablets and smartphones. During a keynote presentation at the January 2013 Mobile FirstLook conference, titled: Sephora: How the World’s Largest Retailer of Fragrances and Beauty Products Views the Future of Mobile Retail, Johnna Marcus, Director of Mobile and Digital Store Marketing, discussed the brand’s past mobile investments, as well as top priorities in 2013. Internal consumer research validates the retailer’s increased focus on mobile marketing and commerce: More than 50% of Sephora emails are opened via smartphones and tablets, Marcus revealed. Additionally, one-third of all Sephora e-Commerce traffic is derived from mobile devices. Improving service to these on-the-go consumers has been profitable for Sephora: the retailer has seen a 167% increase in mobile orders from December 2011 to 2012.Tools and strategies currently leveraged by the retailer include: iPhone…

NRF: The Current Landscape Of Mobile Payments And Where It’s Headed

One-in-five consumers have had a bad retail experience, according to a Temkin Group report on customer experiences. But mobile devices — such as smartphones and tablets — can combat that statistic and improve the omnichannel customer experience. “Mobile payment focuses on two areas,” noted Andrew Morris, Principal at inCode Consulting, in an NRF panel discussion, titled: The Landscape Of Mobile Payments—What Are the Options For Retailers? “Online payments via a mobile device and payments conducted in physical stores using a mobile device.” Moderated by Morris, the NRF BIG Show session covered issues around payments conducted in physical stores through a mobile device.

Caché Personalizes Digital Messaging With Usablenet Mobile App

Today’s hyper-connected omnichannel consumers jump from one touch point to the next throughout the day, while browsing inventory, researching specific products and completing transactions. To succeed in this marketplace, retailers must implement solutions that provide access to products and information via shoppers’ channels of choice. For Caché, a nationwide, mall-based specialty retailer of sophisticated women’s apparel, that channel of choice often is a mobile phone or tablet. Approximately 95% of the retailer’s upscale customer base owned an iPhone or iPad as of January 2013, according to Kevin Metz, VP of e-Commerce at Caché. A large percentage of those users view the Caché web site from their Apple devices, as well as access digital data before entering one of 261 Caché stores nationwide. To drive a stronger synergy between in-store and digital channels, Caché has released a new mobile app that focuses on the omnichannel shopper’s in-store experience. The new offering is powered by technology from Usablenet, a provider of mobile and multi-channel customer engagement solutions, and built specifically to provide more real-time functionality and engagement to Caché customers in stores. 

Shopper Sentiment Research Finds Retailers “Behind The Mobile Curve”

With the 2012 holiday season freshly behind us, retailers and suppliers are striving to collect detailed information on consumers’ cross-channel shopping strategies, high-level trends, and necessary improvements for 2013. Many also are assessing holiday-focused shopping research, such as a study from OpinionLab, a VoC solution provider, which found that shoppers are demanding more streamlined shopping experiences, especially as they relate to mobile transactions. For the Holiday 2012 eCommerce Site Experience Findings report, OpinionLab analyzed customer feedback from more than 43,000 online shoppers from November 1, 2012 to December 11, 2012. Responses were gathered using OpinonLab opt-in research methodology. Satisfaction and experience scores were calculated using a Site Opinion Rating system: a scale from one to five, weighted to reflect key drivers of satisfaction, loyalty, and purchase intent. Satisfaction was segmented by purpose of visit: customer service, to locate a store, research/browse/price hunt, and to purchase. “From a high-level perspective, we wanted to see what customers felt about specific browsing and buying experiences,” said Michael Whitehouse, Senior Marketing Analyst at OpinionLab. “While a lot of data in the retail space speaks to transactional volume, nothing really speaks to true customer satisfaction.”

Musician’s Friend Unveils New Tablet Catalog For Mobile-Savvy Shoppers

Nearly half (44%) of consumers plan to shop on a tablet this holiday season, according to the Zmags 2012 Holiday Shopping Survey. Additionally, 45% of these mobile-savvy shoppers plan to browse and buy via their tablets on a weekly basis. To create a more compelling browsing and buying experience for these shoppers, Musician’s Friend has launched a new interactive catalog — just in time for the holiday shopping season. The tablet-optimized catalog, titled: 2012 Collection: Musician’s Friend Private Reserve, allows shoppers to listen to audio selections and watch video clips of specific guitar models, access detailed product information and place items in their digital shopping carts. The asset also includes high-resolution, 360-degree images and in-depth zooming capabilities. In addition, consumers can “Like” specific products and post images to their personal Facebook pages.

Forever 21 Releases Two Mobile Apps For Cross-Channel Holiday Shoppers

Forever 21, a specialty retailer of women's and men's clothing and accessories, is promoting two mobile apps for the holiday season: an augmented reality app, F21POP, and an updated mobile commerce app. Both are available for download on iPhones and iPads. "We want to blur the boundaries between fashion and technology,” said Linda Chang, Global Marketing Director for Forever 21, in a press release. “Our customers are digitally savvy and we strive to bring fast technology to fast fashion. Our new mobile apps allow us to engage our customers on a new level while making their shopping experience easier and more exciting." Both apps were designed to help bridge the gap between in-store and online shopping experiences. F21POP utilizes advanced image recognition technology, offering consumers access to exclusive holiday campaign videos. Using the app, shoppers also can place their phones in front of storefront windows, Forever 21 advertisements and the retailer magazine to watch images come to life.
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