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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.

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.

An APP STORE Occupy Movement?

While most of the tent camps are gone, the chants of the Occupy movement has left an indelible mark. “We are the 99 percent” was the voice of the disenfranchised majority standing up to the one percent of Americans that earn the vast proportion of the wealth. Tumblr’s Occupy blog sums it up: “We are getting nothing.” Well, it got me thinking of the disparity dilemma. Like most simple concepts, I began seeing parallels all over the economic landscape, particularly in my own world ― the mobile APP store. Before we let Occupy move into a historic footnote, I would like to selfishly ride the rails by calling for a mini-Occupy chant to the powers-the-be that created all the wonderful mobile APP SDKs that allow every healthy coding American to create iPhone and Android APPs. Every retailer and brand is allocating budget to make their storefront and aisle into an APP.

HauteLook Boosts Smartphone Purchases By 700% During Black Friday

Black Friday 2011 was a success for the retail industry, with 226 million shoppers visiting stores and e-Commerce sites throughout the weekend, up from 212 million in 2010, according to a survey from the National Retail Federation (NRF). IBM research further noted the increase in purchases made via iPhones and iPads during Cyber Monday, with mobile access accounting for 6.6% of sales in 2011 versus 2.3% in 2010. HauteLook is among the e-Tailers experiencing this spike first-hand: the members-only shopping web site experienced a 700% year-over-year spike in purchases made via smartphone during Black Friday 2011.

A "Cyber Friday” Means A "Black Monday" For Malls

As I sat thoughtfully on a Sunday afternoon, wedged between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, I had a mobile premonition that times are a’changing. Is Black Friday becoming Cyber Friday?  That would mean a dark Monday for many retailers and malls in North America. On November 28, 2005, following the Thanksgiving weekend, Shop.org started discussing an online shopping phenomenon that it coined Cyber Monday. After fighting for sale items in the aisles, shoppers starting surfing the web for remnant deals. However, Matt Shay and his team at the National Retail Federation should be realizing that the online shopping cloud (that was politely situated on a separate day with separate deals for online shoppers) now is disruptively moving into our primetime shopping calendar.

Enhancing The Mobile Experience Beyond Cyber Monday

The holiday shopping season is in full force, making optimized online, mobile and in-store customer experiences a priority for retailers. Since shoppers will be browsing and buying via mobile more than ever before, factors such as loading speed, site organization and relevant features are vital to mobile engagement and overall purchase rates. Joshua Bixby, President of Strangeloop, a mobile and web site optimization solution provider, shared key findings from company research and best practices for retailers eager to drive mobile purchases beyond the initial surge of Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Connecting The Dots Between Mobile Marketing And Commerce

Part 2 of the Retail TouchPoints Mobility Report Mobile technology is becoming a necessary component of the retail experience that helps consumers obtain news and information in real time. As a result, best-in-class retailers are deploying mobile marketing initiatives to better reach their target audience. From short message service (SMS) to applications, quick response (QR) codes and geo-fencing, these strategies present multiple opportunities to create a cross-channel shopping experience that is memorable and engaging. Retailers such as Crate and Barrel, Macy’s, Sephora, and Target have excelled in connecting mobile marketing initiatives to other channels including email and social media. While mobile marketing is effective in allowing retailers to interact with shoppers on their personal devices, “connecting the dots” across channels is a leading challenge for retailers, according to Joy Liuzzo, VP and Director of InsightExpress.

Reading Apple’s iWallet Tea Leaves

Another mobile commerce patent from Apple in November. Surprised? Not likely. This application, filed last year and released this week by the U.S. patent office, is one of a series of Apple’s Near Field Communications (NFC) commerce patents. This is much NFC activity from one of the only handset providers that had not played its NFC cards. It is clear that Apple is committed to becoming the dominant mobile wallet. It also is clear that iCloud and EasyPay services are building blocks towards a NFC-enabled wallet. It is not difficult read the tea leaves. Let’s start with this week’s patent, which is particularly interesting. Apple addresses the possibility of a virtual SIM card, which carries the wireless phone subscriber’s credentials, to be built into a NFC secure element (SE).

New Research Predicts A Jolly Holiday For Mobile Commerce

Mobility is the hot-button topic for retailers this holiday season as consumers grow more comfortable browsing and buying via smartphones and tablets. In fact, an estimated 15% of U.S. consumers are expected to tap their mobile devices to access a retailer’s web site during November 2011, according to new analytics-based findings from IBM. Data from the “IBM Coremetrics Benchmark Study” indicated that all online shopping during November will increase up to 15% year-over-year. The data was collected from more than 500 U.S. retailer web sites during from October 2010 to October 2011. Utilizing analytics technology, the study is designed to measure real-time sales data and online marketing results with a goal of revealing shopping trends across channels. Key areas investigated include mobile usage, m-Commerce and social media.

Got Milk? Mobile Campaign Success Highlighted At CETW In New York

The Got Milk? brand chose an optimized mobile web site over an app to connect with its rapidly growing mobile consumer base, comprised of two primary segments: mothers and teenage athletes. The organization tapped communication agency Draftfcb New York to create an HTML5 mobile optimized web site and two campaigns designed to cater to the brand’s target segments. Jason Levy, VP, Director of Mobile, Draftfcb New York, highlighted key elements of the Got Milk? project during Customer Engagement Technology World (CETW) November 9, 2011 in New York.

Forward-Thinking Retailers Tap Mobility To Connect With Shoppers

Retailers are gravitating to mobile marketing initiatives including short message service (SMS) marketing, quick response (QR) codes, and applications to boost brand awareness and formulate more personalized shopping experiences. Merchants also have leveraged the “always on” benefits of the web by rolling out mobile storefronts to encourage browsing and buying directly via smartphone. A vast majority (91%) of retailers indicate they currently have a mobile strategy in place or in development — a 17% boost from 2010, according to the Shop.org and Forrester Research report titled “The State Of Retailing Online 2011: Marketing, Social, and Mobile.” Results also indicate that implemented tactics are thinly distributed; As much as 48% of retailers report having a mobile-optimized web site, while others have focused on releasing apps for iPhone (35%), Android (15%) and iPad (15%). However, many retailers are struggling to finalize a mobile strategy that fits brand image and expectations accurately.

Conjugating Mobile: Facebook As Big Brother

The litmus test for the success of any mobile technology is our ability to conjugate nouns and verbs around its products and services. A loving sign is when nouns become verbs and we “Google,” “Skype,” “Facebook” and “TXT.” There seems to be a direct business correlation between becoming part of your consumer’s vernacular and the stock price of the originating company.  Some companies are proactive by positioning themselves for success by making their products and services more verb friendly; they are spoon-feeding the public with marketing terms such as “Tweet,” “Like” and “Check-in.”
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