April 28, 2014
Retailers embrace mobile commerce with fervor
The outlook for mobile commerce has never looked brighter as retailers and merchants of all hues embrace mobile as a key medium that not only drives sales on devices but also to bricks-and-mortar stores where the bulk of retail still occurs.
As this Mobile Commerce Outlook 2014 classic guide will show, mobile commerce is a runaway hit for retailers in an overstored, highly competitive environment where price often trumps brand. Mobile commerce conducted on the device is the ultimate convenience for time-strapped consumers, while shifting even more control over the purchase-decision process from retailers.
Forrester Research projected that mobile commerce last year accounted for $20 billion in sales, expecting double-digit growth for the next few years. The majority of that revenue was generated – not surprisingly – by eBay, Apple, Starbucks and Amazon, as well as retailers such as Macy’s, Walmart and Target. But the interesting development to watch for in the years ahead is how Main Street retailers have understood that their shopper has changed, and accordingly adapted.
Previous years’ discussions focused on mobile Web sites and applications. Those two mobile channels now are a given. The emphasis this year and the next is on integrating store operations with online and mobile, thus giving rise to the popular term du jour, omnichannel. What retailers are vying for – with mobile help, of course – is a seamless shopping experience across channels. Smart retailers will not worry about ownership of channels, but ownership of the customer experience.
Among other trends to expect are better geo-location offerings that recognize customers and prospects in-store, more sophisticated sites and apps that cut down the shopping time, in-store pick-up of mobile orders, more sophisticated search that drives local traffic, targeted mobile advertising and marketing that drives leads to stores, sites and apps, and the whole notion of mobile payments which seems to focus on plucking out credit cards from the equation. Good luck with the last one.
Of course, as with any emerging medium, mobile still has challenges. Chief among them is an issue bedeviling store-based retail and ecommerce: theft of consumer data. This hazard has yet to visit the mobile operations of most retailers. But a leaky sieve may not be helpful to mcommerce’s rapid ascent as a lead and revenue generator for retailers, accumulating mounds of valuable and confidential data along the way.
Please read this Mobile Commerce Outlook from page to page. Feel free to send the articles and document link to colleagues and clients. The insights and analysis in this edition are meant to help readers make smarter decisions about mobile commerce. For their hard work and dedication, many thanks to team members Chantal Tode, Lauren Johnson, Kari Jensen, Rebecca Borisin, Jodie Solomon and our awesome art director. The articles in this Classic Guide tell an obvious truth: mobile commerce is the present and future of retail.
Mickey Alam Khan