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.

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, 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 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.”

HP Adds Mobile POS To Its Retail Tablet

Today, November 3, 2011, HP announced the HP Retail Mobile POS Case, a retail POS unit designed to withstand the rugged demands of the retail store environment. The unit features a barcode scanner and magnetic stripe reader,creating a complete mobile POS solution encased around the HP Slate 2 tablet.The Retail Mobile POS Case operates using Windows 7, which allows seamless integration with existing application infrastructure, reducing the number of platforms within the organization’s IT environment. “We think the Slate 2 will be popular for queue busting, clienteling and mobility for store managers and associates,” noted Dick Arnold, Director of Worldwide Marketing for HP's Global Retail business unit, in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “We have received a very good response from retail clients from an application integration perspective, in addition to manageability and security.” Arnold noted that a number of HP retail customers are in the process of developing in-house applications for the Slate 2 and will be testing those applications in the near future.

Mobile Technology Lessons Learned At The Expense Of The Book Industry

We all know that Amazon is a business disruptor. What we collectively do not seem to understand is how the industry’s shifting roles is undermining the value chain for both the writer and the reader.Could Amazon be simply using the book to build its m-commerce empire? Is the book industry a necessary sacrifice: mobile commerce road kill? Book Countdown: 7 Steps Here are the CliffsNotes on how the book industry turned on its ear:

Thank Google-ness, It’s Windows?

Mobility is a treacherous business. Cell phones only are used for an average of 18 months before dropping down toilets, falling off tables and general m-wear-and-tear drives consumers back into the buyers’ market. For fashion and trend-conscious consumers, this cycle is probably shorter. Mobile folks are a fickle bunch. While some may be diehard Apple or Android loyalists, the masses swap the old for the new in rapid succession. Every time a screen smashes or a phone drops down a manhole or domiciles in a taxi (without you), there is a fresh opportunity for a handset manufacturer and an operating platform to woo the new shopper. Of course, there is some stickiness; Consumers may be faithful to their Blackberry Messenger groups, the slick screen design of their iPhones or the price point of their Androids.

New Survey Shows Privacy Concerns Create Mixed Emotions For Location-Based Offers

Location-based strategies have changed consumers’ spending habits based on the amount of available offers. As retailers continue to interact with consumers using cross-channel strategies, recipients now prefer to receive coupons on their mobile devices. In fact, 67% of smartphone and tablet users consider it very convenient and useful to have location-based coupons sent to their mobile devices, according to a recent mobile survey conducted by Prosper Mobile Insights.
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