Independent research by Vanson Bourne found was that there is a significant discrepancy between retailers’ anticipations of the impact of mobile and the strategies they currently have to facilitate this demand.
Focused on retailers’ mobile commerce strategies and whether they were in line with what consumers are demanding from them, the research analyzed in depth what impact mobile commerce has already had on retailers – both brick-and-mortar stores and e-tail channels.
While I won’t go into detail here about all the fascinating figures the research found (you can see the full stats for yourself here, and I’ll be blogging about what the research revealed on NFC next week), the most interesting set of statistics for me was that 90% of retailers believe that mobile commerce is already impacting shopping behavior, or that it will within the next 2 years – and yet only less than one in six have a fully executed mobile strategy.
Consumers are also increasingly demanding a comprehensive mobile shopping experience, with 60% using mobile internet to make decisions in a store or while shopping online, 40% using mobile applications to make shopping decisions and 37% using a mixture of the two.
What these figures show is that there are evidently barriers to adoption for retailers that are stopping them from introducing end-to-end mobile commerce strategies – something they believe to be so absolutely vital to their business, and something their customers are clearly demanding from them.
From what I’ve seen, whether it’s in the retail, financial, travel or healthcare industries, the key challenge for businesses to overcome when adopting a comprehensive mobile strategy is the intensifying level of mobile fragmentation. There is an unprecedented level of competition in the mobile market, and with so many key players constantly developing new technologies, consumers have never had so many options.
What retailers need to realize is that they don’t really have a choice in the matter – they must be able to broadly adapt to any mobile channel that their consumers decide to use, whether it be mobile web on the iPhone4 OS, an app on their Blackberry, HTML5 on the Windows Phone, or any possible other combination of operating system and mobile channel.
Retailers must be able to add value to the brick-and-mortar or online shopping experience with their mobile commerce strategies, otherwise they risk losing a large portion of customers.
Ultimately, I think what we should take away from the research is that mobile is here, and it’s already having a massive impact on the retail space. Consumers are increasingly using their mobiles while shopping, whether to make purchases or to aid in their shopping decisions.
Retailers can either be part of the mobile movement and do everything they can to add value to their customers’ shopping experience, or get left behind as their customers turn to retailers who can provide them with the comprehensive mobile shopping experience they demand.