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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.

ForeSee, Millennial Media Share Mobile Trends, Holiday Expectations

The Mobile Marketing Summit: Holiday Focus 2012 conference was held during September 13, 2012, at the National Museum of the American Indian in New York City. The one-day event included a number of speakers from Barnes & Noble, Bloomberg, ForeSee, Groupon, HSN, Kraft Foods, Millennial Media, NBC and other industry leaders. During the conference, Larry Freed, President and CEO of research firm ForeSee, said that while addressing and measuring the customer experience is important, it also is one of the biggest challenges that retailers face. Freed’s presentation, titled: “Understanding the Holiday Mobile Shopper: Data, Actionable Insights and Analysis,” highlighted the demographics of today’s mobile shoppers, how patterns of behavior have evolved and shoppers’ intended use of mobile during the upcoming holidays.

Starbucks/Square Agreement Helps Spur Local Business Growth

Expensive interchange fees associated with credit/debit card payment processing, cumbersome merchant application procedures and mandatory credit checks are just a few reasons why many retailers prefer not to accept credit/debit payments. In fact, more than two thirds of the nation’s 27 million small businesses currently do not accept credit/debit cards. While this option helps businesses of all sizes reduce related costs and procedural requirements, it can deter traffic from customers who prefer these vehicles, especially as mobile payments become more mainstream. To provide a convenient, cost-effective and innovative payment experience for both sides of the counter, Starbucks Coffee Company has announced a partnership with Square, Inc., a provider of free credit/debit card readers and lower-cost processing for credit/debit purchases made via the iPhone, iPad and Android. Square is a start-up led by Jack Dorsey, CEO ― the former Co-Founder of Twitter. Square’s processing fees are 2.75% per swipe, according to its web site ― much lower than the average 2% to 3% of the total transaction amount merchants traditionally are charged.

The Mobile POS Tipping Point

  More retailers are weighing the benefits of mobile technology and marketing. However, to create a multi-dimensional brand experience, improve engagement and maximize customer service, retailers must understand the wants and needs of their customers, as well as the best tools to deliver upon these needs. During a recent webinar presented by Retail TouchPoints, titled The Mobile POS Tipping Point, Ken Morris, Principal of Boston Retail Partners (BRP), discussed two ways retailers can leverage mobile POS (mPOS) in stores: associate- and customer-facing mPOS. Associate-facing mPOS focuses on line-busting and allows store associates to provide product information and recommendations via smartphone or iPad. Customer-facing mPOS, however, allows shoppers to receive instant access to offers, inventory details, ratings/reviews and social media accounts directly on their personal mobile devices.

Fraud Prevention, Mobile Strategies Contribute To The ROI For EMV

As the debate continues over whether U.S. retailers are ready to embrace chip-enabled EMV smart cards to reduce payment fraud, industry players are moving ahead with developments designed to ease the transition to EMV in the U.S. Retail industry executives are aware that EMV is the global standard for smart card chip-and-PIN-related transactions and they must become EMV-compliant by April 2013; after that time they will be liable for card-related fraud, if EMV chip technology could have prevented that fraud. While fraud prevention alone may not deliver an acceptable ROI for EMV, the technology also will impact future integrations of mobile, contactless, card-not-present (CNP) and other payment strategies.

New Deloitte Study: Smartphones To Influence $689 Billion Of In-Store Sales By 2016

As smartphone sales proliferate, largely due to their increased availability and affordability, consumers are utilizing mobile phones more frequently to research potential purchases, prices and ratings/reviews. In fact, smartphones currently influence 5.1% of annual retail store sales, translating to $159 billion in forecasted sales for 2012, according to new research from Deloitte Consulting. This total is expected to grow to 19%, or $689 billion in brick-and-mortar transactions by 2016.

Mattel Optimizes Mobile Experience, Integrates PayPal Mobile Express Checkout Into New M-Commerce Site

As consumers continue to tap into their smartphones to research potential purchases, mobile commerce will continue to increase and impact overall retail sales. In fact, mobile commerce sales are expected to grow from $3.5 billion in 2012 to $31 billion in 2015, according to eMarketer. To keep pace with this anticipated growth, Mattel — a global manufacturer of toys, games and children’s apparel — recently unveiled its mobile-optimized site. The new release is powered by Usablenet, a provider of multichannel technology and solutions, and was developed to “address the needs of millennial parents and provide them with a technology-relevant solution,” Andres Amezquita, VP of e-Commerce for Mattel, told Retail TouchPoints.

IBM Unveils Augmented Reality Mobile Shopping App For In-Store Engagement

Shoppers are demanding more personalized offers, communications and item recommendations from retailers today. As a result, they are more willing to share personal information with retailers to ensure these experiences are provided. As many as 73% of shoppers would share their demographic information, including age and ethnicity, according to recent research from IBM’s Institute for Business Value. The 2012 Consumer Survey also revealed that 61% of consumers are willing to share their identification, such as name and address, and 59% are open to sharing information about their lifestyle.

Mobile POS and Customer Experience In The Omni-Channel Era

The cash wrap is rapidly becoming an antiquated place for transactions. In the past, customers and retailers have experienced a single-channel touch point via the brick-and-mortar store. Today, this single-channel touch point has evolved into a complex and multi-channel experience — where customers interact via multiple, independent touch points that function through retailers in technical silos, including e-commerce, catalog, and brick-and-mortar. Building off the multi-channel approach, retailers are scrambling to deploy a high-function, high-touch cross-channel approach where customers interact with multiple touch points across one brand, and where retailers have one single view of the customer as they still operate out of technical silos. But the future, and what some are calling the “nirvana” of retail, will be the era of the omni-channel. Omni-channel entails customers enjoying a seamless brand experience independent of channel, as opposed to channels within brands, and retailers using strategic ways to leverage their single view of customers. Mobility, and especially mobile point of sale (POS), is the epicenter of omni-channel, connecting retailers and their customers.

Sleeping With The CMO

Editor’s note: This article is an excerpt from Schwartz’ upcoming novel titled: Fast Shopper, Slow Store due to be published in August 2012, expanding on The Impulse Economy. For thousands of years we have bartered and sold stuff. Over the past hundred years we have refined a retail business model and strapped on solutions to adapt to new media and technology. However mobile adoption has arrived with unnatural speed. It is inevitable that there will be some resulting discord in the way we spend budget and the way we adapt to legacy technology. According to various research data (provided by Flurry, comScore, VSS and Alexa) retailers and brands spend 29% of their budget buying print when the consumer time spent on print has dwindled to 6 per cent of their day. We spend one per cent of our budget on mobile media although it occupies 23% of our consumer’s attention. Granted that we are not comparing apples to apples.  (Mobile is more difficult to buy than paper and even if you reallocated budget, mobile is more cost effective.) However, the above disparity that underscores how we silo budgets and is indicative of the old economy where the store sat proudly…

QR Codes Can Be A Window Display For The Mobile Customer

Whether used for window shopping, checking product ratings or searching for sales, smartphones are society’s latest shopping companion. They allow on-the-go consumers to stay plugged into the retail world wherever they are. As people become adept with taps and swipes, push notifications and Siri queries, retail marketers should be as comfortable in a mobile setting as their customers.However, breaking into the mobile landscape can be daunting, especially considering the high price of custom mobile apps and the limited targeting that does little to redeem them.

Mobile POS: Changing The Way Retailers Think About Payment

This is Part III of Retail TouchPoints’ payment update, a three-part report uncovering the latest developments in EMV, mobile payment and mobile POS. Click here to read Part II of the feature. Download a full copy of the report here. Google Wallet, Isis and other mobile wallet suppliers continue to educate retailers and consumers on the benefits of implementation. At the same time, mobile plug-in and other payment solution providers, such as PayPal, Square and VeriFone, are serving more merchants across verticals. In March 2012, PayPal unveiled its newest creation, PayPal Here, a smartphone plug-in designed for small businesses, food trucks and tech-savvy consumers. The triangle-shaped, encrypted reader allows merchants to complete credit and debit card transactions with a single swipe. Other features include the ability to photograph a check for payment transmission, and select and add gratuities to transaction totals. To drive increased traffic to local businesses, the app includes a “local” section that shows consumers which nearby merchants accept PayPal. Merchants can track inventory and send invoices through the app. All swipes and transactions are charged a 2.7% fee.

Mobile Wallets And NFC Battle For Retailer Mindshare

This is Part II of Retail TouchPoints’ payment update, a three-part report uncovering the latest developments in EMV, mobile payment and mobile POS. This installment will discuss the latest news in mobile wallets, such as Google Wallet and Isis. Part III, which will focus on payment plug-ins and in-store mobile solutions, will appear in the May 1 newsletter. You can view Part I here. During 2011, Near Field Communication (NFC) technology was a hot topic among retailers and solution providers. With smartphone penetration deepening, industry analysts had spotlighted NFC’s growing importance among consumers, especially in travel and retail store locations, and its potential for mobile payments. In summer 2011, Juniper Research revealed in its “NFC Retail Marketing & Mobile Payments Report” that the NFC market was expected to reach $50 billion in revenues worldwide by 2014. Juniper also predicted that as many as 20 countries would be utilizing NFC between 2011 and 2012.

The Politics-Retail Connection

It is always at this juncture in the presidential primaries, when candidates are clawing for last minute positioning, that the election process is eerily similar to selling a product in the hugely competitive retail market. All the techniques that Proctor & Gamble or Coca-Cola use to market their products and drive sales are (if unnaturally) the same as those embraced by the candidates in this year’s election. It’s an interesting comparison.

Developments In EMV And Mobile Bring Payment To New Heights

  This is Part I of Retail TouchPoints' payment update, a three-part report uncovering the latest developments in EMV, mobile payment and mobile POS. Part II, which will focus on developments in mobile wallets and payment apps, will appear in the April 24 newsletter. Payment processing is a vital step in the sales lifecycle. Whether online or in the store, consumers are completing purchases with credit and debit cards, PayPal, Google Wallet and other digital options. Recent developments and trends in payment and technology have retailers rethinking their payment processes to keep pace with tech-savvy shoppers, as well as upcoming industry mandates. These developments include the move to smart cards in the U.S. and retailers' need to comply with Europay, Visa and MasterCard (EMV) — the global standard for smart card processing. They also include growth in Near Field Communication (NFC) technology, and mobile payment applications and hardware, such as those from Google, Square, PayPal and VeriFone.
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