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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.

Designing The Next Generation Of Wireless Retail Spaces

“I think we are most interested in the idea of shopping as a new kind of public space. How can we enrich these experiences? Can we bring new content, information, ideas and visual experiences to shopping in a thoughtful and dynamic way?” This quote, from New York City-based design studio 2x4 Inc., defines the direction in which new types of physical retail locations must go. The entire retail industry already has experienced a tectonic shift due to e-Commerce, mobile apps and social networking. Brick-and-mortar retailers, cognizant of increased competition from newer virtual retailing, must undergo a similar transformation, but of a different nature.

BIGinsight Report Shows Nordstrom Shoppers Engaging Via Mobile

While retailers implement mobile into their customer engagement strategies, many consumers still are adjusting to their mobile devices as a shopping tool. Among those retailers, Nordstrom has made a name for itself in the mobile engagement industry; it ranked highest in mobile capacity in the recent BIGinsight Mobile Aptitude study. “Nordstrom has really embraced mobile as a social medium,” Pam Goodfellow, Consumer Insights Director for BIGinsight, told RetailTouchPoints. “Demographics is a main component; regarding income, it’s easier for a Nordstrom shopper to own a tablet or a smartphone versus a Walmart consumer.” The BIGinsight Mobile Aptitude Score was calculated using shoppers’ mobile ownership; usage (including apps and QR code readers); influence to purchase; and frequency of mobile Internet access. Nordstrom’s mobile capacity scored the highest with 119.9 points, followed by Macy’s (116.4) and Dillard’s (113.4).

7 Steps To Keeping Customers Captivated With Mobile Apps

With the continued rise of smartphones, most retailers are looking for ways to open and realize the full potential of the mobile channel to increase customer engagement, convenience, and loyalty. With some thought, mobile can also aid in customer acquisition and revenue generation. A mobile app is one of the best mobile tools available to reach shoppers and can provide a more captivating and convenient user experience than other mobile vehicles like SMS, mobile web or QR codes. But mobile apps need a good engagement strategy to keep them relevant. Every retailer or brand should aim to create a mobile app strategy that encourages the consumer to engage on a regular basis. Depending on the business model, a successful mobile engagement strategy should have 30% or more of customers interacting or transacting with the brand on a weekly basis.

QR Code Trends And Early Adopters

The convergence of social media and technology is changing how people shop and what they expect from retailers. The QR code is the latest technology to be part of this shift. According to research from comScore, 20.1 million mobile phone owners in the U.S. used their device to scan a QR code in the three-month average period ending October 2011. Among this group, 59.4% scanned from home, 44% from a retail store and 26.6% from a grocery store. It seems that QR codes have become a retailer’s secret weapon. But why? The answer lies in interactivity: By simply using the camera phone to scan the code, consumers can connect to the product web site; check availability, reviews and ratings; access comparative shopping information; enter contests; and even go direct to a call center to have their questions answered. Suddenly, static media has become two-dimensional, exciting and, most importantly, measureable.

Retail 2.0: Invite Shoppers To Participate

Once again this year, the ol’ Javits Center in New York hosted retail folk from across the country. It seemed as if every vendor was hawking technology solutions to help retailers track product life cycle from factory to sale. This is a wonderful efficiency goal. Booth after booth showed space-age integration of serialized data from RFID tags, embedded into product tags, containing business information from back end systems. Track a sweater from factory to showroom to purchase and possibly customer return. Allow retailer micro-visibility into order status and inventory. But some of the vendors are missing the full story. It was as if they ended the story mid-pitch. The industry still is selling First Generation Retail, when the new frontier is Retail 2.0. Using the new Near Field Communication NFC-enabled phones that are entering the market this year, the shopper can be as active as the merchandising clerk. Using the phone as a personal reader, shoppers can navigate products, allowing stores to clientele and close the cross-channel disconnect that is evading most store executives.

David’s Bridal Releases Mobile Optimized Site To Reach Tech-Savvy Brides-To-Be

Now that smartphones are ubiquitous, it’s no longer outlandish for consumers to browse, research and/or buy on their Android, iPhone or tablet devices. The researching process is particularly important for larger, more expensive purchases, such as wedding gowns. To better reach modern, more tech-savvy consumers, David’s Bridal has rolled out a mobile optimized site, developed in partnership with Usablenet. The David’s Bridal mobile site was released in Q4 2011 to provide prospective customers with a user experience that is rich and engaging. According to Keely Conley, Director of e-Commerce for David’s Bridal, the primary goal of the new storefront was to allow shoppers to interact with the brand and purchase bridal gowns anytime and anywhere.

Bringing More In-Store: How Mobility And IT Investments Impact Customer Satisfaction And Loyalty

When you really think about it, mobile technology has transformed just about every facet of our lives. It has changed the way we communicate; when and how we access information; and how, when and where we shop. With the vast number of mobile applications now available on any platform, today’s consumers can have information their way, wherever they are. Nowhere have the implications of the mobility revolution been felt more than in the retail arena. It’s estimated that mobile shopping could total $120 billion by the year 2015. According to Gartner’s “Cool Vendors in Retail 2011” report, big retailers are continuing to focus on investments that enhance their ability to support a cross-channel selling environment. The combination of an innovative software application paired with more mature technologies, such as touchscreen-based kiosks and real-time analytics, is creating new ways to engage with increasingly connected shoppers.

Holiday Shopping Trends Highlight The Increasing Importance Of A Mobile Strategy

When referring to all the shopping that went on between Thanksgiving and Christmas Day 2011, the term “holiday” has been replaced by a different modifier — mobile. Millions turned to their handheld devices to buy everything from lawn ornaments to winter tires and hunting decoys, all purchased with the tap of a finger. To gauge the level of mobile shopping, Ability Commerce, an e-Commerce software developer, took a close look at its clients’ mobile shopping figures during the holiday period. We found that mobile buying trended up steadily, likely because of our clients’ clearly identified mobile strategies. More interesting, we uncovered a fevered skirmish going on among the top mobile operating systems. With all the Android tablets and smartphones hitting the market, plus a raft of new tablets and several Apple iOS devices, the mobile market was flooded this year. We discovered a host of interesting statistics about how each operating system fared in mobile shopping in 2011. Android transactions (including Android smartphones and tablets) surged 52% from 2010, while Apple iOS device transactions (iPhones and iPads combined) were up 338%.

Can Mobile Answer The Loyalty Question?

How do merchants sustain mutually beneficial relationships with their customers? That’s the fundamental question at the heart of modern retailing, and one driving significant investment in customer relationship management schemes, branding exercises and highly targeted marketing efforts. Getting the answer right makes a huge difference to the bottom line, even in boom times. But with consumer spending on the front line of the economic slowdown, acquiring and maintaining that essential customer relationship is more critical than ever. Both traditional local outlets and far-reaching web sites have to fight to keep their customers’ attention from wandering. Unfortunately for many retailers, changing market conditions, new technologies and an increasingly fickle customer base make it that much harder to achieve and sustain that vital relationship.

2011 and 2012 Top Ten in Mobile (in 100 words or less)

In a season where every second tweet and Google+ post is a look back or forward at the “mobile” year, it is sometimes difficult to navigate all the insights. Just Google “Mobile Top 10 . . .” and you will find every blogger, publication, and pundit providing their vision of what is news worthy, trend worthy or simply rankable in mobile. The proliferation of mobile “Top 10s” is a good thing. It is proof of all the many verticals areas that mobile has intersected. Health, IT, Gaming, Banking, Retail, Social, Payment, Fraud, Security, Privacy, Patent trolling . . . all now have some form of a top 10 mobile list. The explosion of Mobile Top Ten list show both how disruptive mobile has become and also (it would seem) what a massive audience it commands. Top 10 related news headlines seem to drive more hits and be retweeted more than other items. 

VeriFone Acquisition Of Global Bay Boosts Enterprise Mobility Exposure

Mobile point-of-sale hardware is predicted to experience a compound annual growth rate of 11.4% over the next five years, reaching approximately $230 million, according to VDC Research. The market analyst firm reports that this growth is due to payment solutions being extended into the mobile market. For example, VeriFone, a widely recognized electronic payment solution provider, acquired Global Bay, a mobile payment platform, during November 2011, to increase retailer partnerships and extend enterprise mobility capabilities. Through the acquisition, GlobalBay is being integrated with VeriFone products and services.

U.S. M-Commerce Sales To Reach $11.6 Billion In 2012

Mobile commerce has come to the forefront during the 2011 holiday shopping season as a way for consumers to browse and buy anywhere and at anytime. Although m-Commerce purchases are a small fraction versus those made online, transactions completed via mobile devices are expected to reach $6.7 billion in the U.S. by the end of 2011, according to analysis by eMarketer, a digital marketing, media and commerce analyst group. During 2012, sales are expected to boost another 73.1% to $11.6 billion, the company said. eMarketer indicated that m-Commerce is “on a steep upward trajectory,” with sales increasing 91.4% in 2011 versus 2010. According to the report, titled “U.S. Mobile Commerce Forecast: Capitalizing on Consumers’ Urgent Needs,” 97% of mobile subscribers 14 and older will be smartphone owners in 2012. The firm also forecasts that 37.5 million U.S. consumers within this age segment will make at least one purchase via their mobile phones during 2012, up from 26.8 million this year.

Analyzing The Digital Consumer For 2012 Mobile Success

As retailers finalize cross-channel marketing plans and investments for 2012, most have considered the benefits of mobile strategies, such as short message service (SMS), apps, mobile-optimized sites and quick response (QR) codes. New research from InsightExpress provides marketers with detailed metrics regarding smartphone usage, mobile subscriber behaviors and how retailers can optimize mobile marketing to increase engagement. The company’s “4Q2011 Digital Consumer Portrait” indicates that smartphone penetration has increased consistently throughout the year. Currently, 41% of consumers own smartphones, according to InsightExpress research. To optimize mobile marketing initiatives, retailers must better understand this audience and its primary behaviors.

New Study Shows More Consumers Making Purchases On Mobile Phones; 90M Smartphone Users In U.S. Alone

The smartphone’s enhanced Internet access and applications have captivated the hearts of consumers. More than half of U.S. mobile phone owners browse mobile Internet, use apps or download content, according to a recent Mobile Retail Advisor study conducted by comScore, a mobile research firm. In an effort to understand the impact of smartphones on the mobile audience, the study surveyed mobile media users, defined as consumers who utilize browsers; applications and/or native emails; stream or download music; and/or broadcast or utilize on demand video. During a recent webinar presented by comScore, titled, “Handheld Shopping: How Mobile is Changing the Retail Environment,” survey results showed that the mobile audience using just voice has declined 15% year-over-year while mobile media usage has grown 19% in the same time period. In June 2011, for the first time, retailers indicated that most consumers who purchased a phone were purchasing a smartphone.

Study Indicates 70% Of Retailers Adding Technology-Enabled Touch Points; In-Store Mobile Commerce On The Rise

Due to advanced smartphone technology, today’s consumers have new, expanded access to product information at any time. Faced with the challenges of a more empowered, cross-channel shopper, retailers continuously are creating new ways to improve the in-store shopping experience. A leading strategy, showing a spike in implementations over the last year, is providing store associates with technology-enabled touch points, such as smartphones and tablet devices. During a recent webinar, presented by Retail TouchPoints, titled “The Road To In-Store Mobile Commerce,” Steve Rowen, Research Managing Partner for RSR Research, shared key findings from the company’s 2011 edition of its annual store benchmark survey. Jerry Rightmer, President of Starmount, a retail solutions provider, also discussed insights from the study; he revealed best practices for retailers planning to upgrade the in-store experience to meet the expectations of mobile-empowered consumers.
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