Mobile Tips

While holiday forecasts are just starting to come out, most industry experts agree that retailers can expect mobile to command a bigger share of online shopping. Forrester projects $294 billion in e-commerce sales across 30 retail categories in 2014, with $87 billion of the total occurring on phones and tablets in 2014. A report by IBM forecasts that mobile will account for more than 20% of site sales and more than 43% of site traffic, by November 2014.

“Mobile should be a primary purchase channel within a few years,” said Bill Davis, director of MB&G Consulting. Davis offers the following tips for retailers fine-tuning a mobile commerce strategy for the holiday season.

•   Focus Your Mobile Presence.

Many retailers have mobile apps, but if they do not, Davis advises that establishing a focused mobile presence, not just pointing mobile device users to an existing website, is required.

“Engaging customers to download and use the app is necessary, so linking the download and registration to an in-store promotion, say 10% off a $40 order, is one way to accomplish this,” said Davis.

•   Let the Beacon Guide Shoppers.

Related to mobile is the use of Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacons, which enable proximity sensing of the mobile device, primarily iPhones, to identify where a consumer is in the store and to message them.

“The ability to engage consumers in store is the ‘last mile’ issue for retailers, and BLE beacons currently offer the best opportunity for addressing this,” Davis explained. “Knowing a loyalty customer has walked into a store as he or she crosses the threshold helps level the playing field with e-commerce’s analytical capabilities.”

•   Manage Your Information.

While unlikely to be implemented by or during holiday 2014, Davis says most retailers should consider adopting a product information management (PIM) system to manage how they deliver product information to their various physical and digital sales channels.

“As Amazon and e-tailers have shown, information is the new gold and nowhere is this more relevant than in the depth of the product information they present to help guide a buyer’s decision,” Davis said.

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