Retailers cannot wait to mobilize their operations, said Darrell Sandefur, recently appointed as Director, eCommerce Architecture at Luxottica Retail, during a keynote presentation at the IBM Retail User Group (IRUG) conference this week in Orlando. (Until just a few weeks prior to the IRUG event, Sandefur held the position of Technology Architect at The Kroger Co. and was billed as such in the event agenda.) Luxottica Retail currently operates more than 6,000 Sunglass Hut, Pearle Vision and LensCrafters stores worldwide.
During his presentation, Sandefur offered a number of mobilization tips for his retail peers. When kicking off a mobilized site, he noted, focus on your greatest users. To date 45-50% of mobile traffic is split between the iPad and the iPhone, with another 25% coming through the Droid, Sandefur explained. Also, make the site as user-friendly as possible. Sandefur quoted analyst Gene Alvarez from Gartner in pointing out that site users should be able to accomplish a task in no more than three gestures.
Before making the decision to allow smartphone users to access wifi in-store, merchants must complete wifi audits of each store. Offering Internet accessibility then having it unavailable in certain spots in the store is a sure way to lose business and customers, Sandefur noted.
Start By Managing Channels Properly
To move forward with the mobile channel in an effort to offer a consistent cross-channel experience, retail organizations need to have three priorities in place: Governance, Content and Technology, Sandefur explained.
On the topic of Governance, Sandefur recommended that companies know up front who will be responsible for operations and the support for all channels. “This can be a gray area for many companies,” he said. Store associates, customers and partners/vendors all must be managed appropriately. If governance is not clear then the addition of the mobile channel will only muddy the waters and leave the implementation vulnerable to failure.
Technology management also is key, particularly when it comes to the mitigation of security risks. Sandefur suggested that companies conduct security vulnerability scans of their channel operations every three months or after every three minor solution releases, whichever comes first.
In addition to Sandefur’s keynote session, a number of other IRUG presentations focused on mobile commerce and mobile payment:
- “The Mobilized Merchant: How Mobile Payments Can Propel The Revolution In Retailing,” presented by Andrew Morris, CEO of Morris Advisors
- “Mobility Will Keep You Moving,” presented by Eugene Cornell, President of Cornell-Mayo Associates
- “Retail Mobility in 2011 And Beyond,” presented by Sandeep Bhanote, CEO of Global Bay Mobile
- “Moving Beyond Transactions And Interactions With Mobile Solutions,” presented by Jerry Rightmer, President of Starmount Systems, Inc.
- “Mobile Retailing Blueprint: A Comprehensive Guide For Navigating The Mobile Landscape,” presented by Richard Mader, Executive Director of ARTS and David Hogan, Executive Technology Director, NRF