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It’s time for businesses to truly embrace the mobile revolution

Mobile presents an unparalleled opportunity for businesses to hold one-to-one conversations with customers anytime, anywhere – but until now this hasn’t been optimised by companies effectively.
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There are currently 2.6bn smartphone subscriptions globally, and by 2020 this figure is expected to exceed 6bn. With mobile’s substantial adoption rate it is somewhat surprising that mcommerce has been so slow to become established in the retail industry thus far.

A recent survey released by Apadmi found that four in five shoppers are keen to start collecting loyalty points through a smartphone app, demonstrating that the majority of customers are open to mobile shopping experiences. In addition, many of these consumers are also happy to share their location with retailers in order to receive personalised and relevant promotions. 

The growing movement towards retail becoming mobile-centric is not just due to the increasing demand for customised loyalty offers. It is forecasted by Statista that there will be more than 33m mcommerce users in the UK in second quarter 2016. As mobile is always-on, it often serves as the initial platform for online shopping searches, researching, basket management and ordering or even inspiration for in-store visits and purchases. With consumers already, willingly bought into the idea of mcommerce, why haven’t more retailers optimised their mobile offering and adopted a mobile-first approach?

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The same issue can be observed in the adoption of ecommerce as there are many similarities between this and mCommerce. Faced with the inevitable uptake of ecommerce, retailers initially built a separate digital operation to cope with this new channel, however, now omnichannel retail has become the new norm the industry simply cannot maintain working with a siloed approach to buying channels. This is because the consumer now expects to be able to shop anytime, anywhere and on whatever device they have to hand at that moment in time; and as well as this they want the same brand experience no matter what channel they’re using. 

Typically, retailers have concentrated their efforts on implementing technology that integrates their online and offline offering, but haven’t optimised platforms – including mcommerce – as part of an overall brand strategy. Mcommerce needs to be part of the omnichannel experience to provide customers with a seamless cross-channel brand experience. Consumers no longer differentiate between channels and neither should businesses. 

To stay ahead of the curve, retailers need to implement mobile applications which will enhance customers’ shopping experience while providing pivotal data on consumer shopping behaviour for the business. In the UK alone, 85 per cent of the population engage with their favourite retailers through an app, yet almost three quarters believe there is a gap in the market for better retailer applications.

The consumer appetite is evident, the supporting technology is affordable. Now it is time for businesses to truly embrace the mobile revolution.

Richard Kolodynski is senior VP at iVend Retail.

Meanwhile, Shane Nolan, Google UK & Ireland’s director of SMB sales, shares three simple steps to ensure your business is mobile-ready.

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