The Candid Voice in Retail Technology: Objective Insights, Pragmatic Advice

What Are Retailers Doing With Mobile Technologies?


As I wrote about in my article last week, for all retailers, an eCommerce site that can extend to mobile is the best technology approach for their customer-facing mobile strategies.

This is important, since it indicates that retailers aren't thinking of mobile as yet another selling channel separate from eCommerce.

The notion of channels begins to fade as consumers use the digital and physical selling domains together to make a single purchase. Clearly, retailers are developing a desire for bringing the physical store and digital eCommerce selling channels together into one selling environment, using mobile as the glue. What's really interesting is that for those whose sales are already strongest, their desire is even greater (Figure 1).

Figure 1: Winners Lead the Way

rowen 1

Source: RSR Research, February 2014

In fact, Winners place a higher value on virtually every mobile technology available to them today – from employee capacity assisted selling to shopping apps to hiring advertising agencies with proven mobile expertise. It is, in essence, a hallmark of how they continue to win. A greater understanding of what's available to them to help contend with mobile-armed consumers is evidence of a culture that places high priority on staying in tune with the market as it evolves: it's not just about knowing more about how customers shop/what they want, it's also about knowing what you'll do with your technology spend once it's made available.

And finally, retailers (Winners in particular) are starting to perceive in-store WiFi as having real value. However, there is distance between understanding a technology's helpful potential and deriving practical advantage from its use, as shown clearly in Figure 2.

Figure 2: Early Days Still

  rowen 2

Source: RSR Research, February 2014

Granted, many of the options in the above chart are “new enough” that it would preclude them from extended use by many retailers. However, many have been around for quite some time.

For example, ad agencies are much more on the bleeding edge of mobile tactics than retailers, and they have been for far longer: staying up-to-the-second is prerequisite to their very survival. If retailers see the value, why haven't they made use of such a resource? And by the same token, data breaches aren't new: the latest round of high-profile security hacks only shines light on an issue that RSR (among others) has been focused on since the ChoicePoint breach in 2005. If retailers see the value in mobile PCI certification, why have so few done anything about it yet?

With so much awareness, it would appear that an inability to devote budget and resources really are to blame. We examine these challenges – and many more – in our most recent mobility benchmark, Mobile in Retail: Reality Set In, which is available by following this link.  

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Articles & Opinions March 25, 2014
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