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How Retailers Can Benefit From Mobile Implementation

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The U.S. mobile commerce market is expected to reach more than $30 million by 2016, according to a report from Forrester Research. Already 75% of consumers utilize their smartphones while in-store, reported Julie Ask, VP and Principal Analyst at Forrester Research. Ask discussed these and other mobile trends at the recent Mcommerce Summit: State of Mobile Commerce 2013 conference held in NYC. Executives from Walmart and Lancôme also spoke at the conference.

During her presentation, Ask shared results from the recent mobile trends for marketers survey conducted by Forrester. “Mobile is another touch point and an expectation that customers have of brands,” Ask said. “That demand [for a mobile presence] will increase in the next couple of years.”

Smartphones and tablets are differentiated based on where and how consumers connect:  “The larger the size of a device, the larger a task someone will do,” Ask noted. “A tablet doesn’t fit in my pocket and go everywhere. It is not a mobile device ― it is a lean-back device. But the phone is task-oriented and is all about getting something done. It is a convenient way to complete tasks anywhere.”

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Walmart Combats Showrooming By Focusing On The Consumer

Brick-and-mortar stores are faced with many challenges in today’s digital era. However, retailers who leverage mobile commerce enhance the use of mobile by engaging with smartphone users and offering a compelling customer experience.

When consumers enter a store with a phone, they also have access to online shopping sites, such as Amazon. “So how do I make my in-store experience different in terms of the omnichannel experience?” posed David Shreni, Director of Mobile Strategy at Walmart Global Ecommerce. In a brick-and-mortar environment “I know I am different [from Amazon] and I can play a different game because of that.”

Showrooming is expected to offset 5% of in-store purchases this year, according to Shreni. That number will jump to 20% by 2016. To combat this trend, retailers must offer a mobile optimized online experience and incorporate mobile tools into the in-store shopping experience.

It is “table stakes” for brick-and-mortar retailers to have an online experience, “because it enables access anytime, anywhere,” Shreni said. Walmart is studying how to best “mobilize the in-store experience with a compelling set of tools and marry that [effort] with the online experience.”

Lancôme Advises Retailers To Embrace Mobile

In another Mcommerce Summit session, titled: Lancôme: What the Cosmetics Giant’s Customers Expect of the Mobile Experience, a Lancôme executive highlighted the mobile strategies the brand uses to engage with young, tech-savvy, social media-conscious consumers.

“Tablets are immersive, intimate, engaging, accessible, intuitive, experiential and transformative,” noted Alessio Rossi, VP of Interactive and EBusiness Marketing at Lancôme USA, New York. “Mobile is always with you, it’s completely customized and holds your personalized information — and it’s extremely interactive.”

Rossi advised retailers to embrace mobile because of the many opportunities the channel offers. As an example, he explained how Lancôme promoted a new type of mascara via mobile, a strategy which resulted in a 40% interaction rate. Smartphone users were able to test the product virtually by using an image, either from their photo libraries or a Lancôme stock photo, to preview the end result. Users could refer the product to friends and purchase the mascara from their smartphones.

“Mobile is a multifaceted animal,” Rossi said. “A one-mobile-site-fits-all strategy doesn’t work. We want to be more segmented and targeted in terms of what we deliver.”

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