Retailers seek to keep up with consumers on mobile devices

DISCUSSION TOPIC

Mobility Survey from RSR Research 07-26-2011

Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of an article from Retail Paradox, Retail Systems Research’s weekly analysis on emerging issues facing retailers.

The other day, on one of the many technology solution briefing calls we had, one of the technologists we were speaking with said something very interesting. His company is aiming to bring a solution to market that enables retailers to get ahead of consumers using mobile devices — a highly relevant goal for the times. To emphasize the need for such technologies, he asked us if we could think of a few case studies where retailers have had mobile “happen to them,” without much control of how mobility is being used in the shopping experience. My partner Paula Rosenblum’s response was perfect: “All of them!”

The retail respondents in our brand new mobile survey agree. Of the 60 qualified retailers who’ve responded so far, only six percent are happy with the results of their mobile offering to date. In fact, 49 percent are currently in the process of selecting the right components for their mobile offering as we speak, and 91 percent say that they “need to be there” right now due to the fact that consumers are using mobility as part of their everyday shopping routine.

But 77 percent agree that the true impact of mobile and its best uses are still not fleshed out. Retailers are hungry for practical, intuitive mobility solutions, and many more are willing to experiment than even we could have predicted. In three years’ time, 50 percent of our early respondents anticipate that slightly more of their total sales will come from the mobile channel — another 42 percent say it will be significantly more. These numbers represent massive and fundamental change in how retailers can and will interact with consumers.

Discussion questions:  What do you think is the most important mobile channel capability from the perspective of retailers? Where do you think most retailers should be focusing their mobile investments now?

My post:

We are still in early days of consumers interacting with retailers via mobile platforms. Most uses seem to be informational (store locations, hours, product availability) or seeking value (sales, coupons, other promotions). The level of usage is much more prevalent in Asia, with millions accessing blogs and other information channels unattached to the retailer or brand. I expect the U.S. to follow.

Retailers are losing direct control over consumer interaction and messaging, with consumers and independent thought leaders taking over. Retailers must learn how to authentically reach the influencers and ensure consistent customer experiences in-store and online to create more positive than negative buzz.

In short, the most important mobile channel capability will be to influence the influencers who are often on their mobile devices blogging, tweeting and more in real time about their experiences with the retailer.

A key mobile investment should be to enable mobile interaction in-store (free Wi-Fi) to make it easier for the consumer to gather information, access promotions, and blog/tweet in real time.

Mike Osorio, your Dare to be Contagious! ™ strategist

www.OsorioGroup.com

What do you think?  Please add your comments and add to the discussion!

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Go to the full article at Retailwire.com:  Mobility Survey from RSR Research

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