TECHNOLOGY

Study: In-store mobile projects could generate huge sales growth

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Retailers that harness mobility in-store are not only rejuvenating their in-store experience — they are primed to boost sales.

Retailers deploying in-store mobile initiatives effectively are projected to have an increase of 146% in sales growth in 2018, according to new data from Stratix and IHL Group.

According to data, retailers that successfully deployed mobile POS had a 24% average increase in sales in 2017, compared to retailers who don’t implement mobility in-store. Additionally, retailers that are underperforming with flat or declining growth – but reported deploying in-store mobile POS – saw a 100% increase in sales for 2017. These companies also predict another 47% growth.

These sales increases may be attributed to the personalized experience shoppers receive when interacting with an in-store associate using a mobile device. Moreover, sales associates can complete the purchase during the point of conversation as customers shop, offering the opportunity for associates to upsell and cross-sell merchandise, the study said.

While using mobile solutions in-store resulted in monumental opportunities for some retailers, data also reveals that other retailers still face significant challenges when implementing this technology. The five common setbacks repeatedly mentioned include:

• not having the proper applications in place (75%);
• lack of adequately trained staff in-store (60%);
• the scarcity of internal help desk support (59%);
• a shortage of acceptable payment options (47%); and
• difficulty managing mobile security because it is complicated and demanding (45%).

“At Stratix, we’re not surprised by these findings,” said Gina Gallo, Stratix president and CEO. “As the use cases and complexities for mobile has grown exponentially over the last 10 years, we see that most retail customers are seeking help with staff and support challenges.”

The survey confirms the deployment of mobile POS has hit some roadblocks. However, mobile POS will remain “an integral part of the planned enhancement of the customer experience at the store level in 2018 and 2019,” said IHL group principal analyst Greg Buzek.

“Despite the strong potential financial improvements that have been experienced by retailers enjoying the technology, there have been many reasons why other retailers have delayed the deployment of mobile devices,” he said. “These are often due to the many challenges being able to do deployments effectively and achieving ROI targets.”

Despite these concerns, the opportunities provided by mobile are significant, and with retailers embracing a third-party service to manage, support, and deploy these devices, the investment will be greatly beneficial.

“Choosing to focus on app development and support of the customer experience is the best use of retailer’s internal resources,” Buzek added. “Selecting a trusted partner for the other key challenges revealed in this research is the best approach for most retail companies.”

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TECHNOLOGY

IHL: The fastest growing IT spend areas are…

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

As they compete in an increasingly digitally-influenced marketplace, retailers are stepping up their IT investments.

Retailers are expected to spend over $183 billion on IT solutions in 2018, according to “Retail IT Market Leaders – Competitive Profiles.” The study, from IHL Group, analyzes opportunities for IT services in the retail and hospitality markets.

Systems integration remains the single largest category of spend in services, garnering more than $27 million in investments. But the fastest growing areas over the next five years will be digital transformation (+224%), strategic IT consulting (+184%) and IT outsourcing (108%).

The services that are gaining the most attention include application development, systems integration, infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), and software-as-a-service (SaaS).

“The rapid retail transformation being forced by Amazon and Walmart, combined with scarcely available IT talent, is forcing retailers to increasingly look to outside partners for IT services,” said Greg Buzek, president of IHL Group. “This is specifically true in the areas of digital transformation, strategic IT consulting and general IT outsourcing, all of which we will see triple digit growth rates over the next five years.”

The data from the report coincides with ongoing growth in the retail IT services market, which is on pace to grow between $31.4 billion and $117 billion annually by 2021, according to “ At Your Service: Retail IT Services Market Study,” also from IHL Group.

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Study: E-gifting extends holiday shopping season

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

The holiday season is officially over, but digital gifting is still going strong.

Consumers in need of belated gifts are using the GiftNow platform from Loop Commerce to send e-gifts via email, text or social media, the company said. In fact, up to 51% of gifts purchased through GiftNow after Christmas have been sent as belated holiday gifts, according to a study from Loop Commerce, conducted between December 25-29.

Data revealed that 64% of the gifts purchased on the platform were sent to recipients more than 20 miles from the gift sender. Meanwhile, presents were sent to recipients via text at twice the rate of pre-holiday gifts, further emphasizing the need for immediacy.

GiftNow is offered by retailers, including Target, Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, Macy’s, American Giant, Banana Republic, DXL, and Athleta, among others.

“Gifting is an important year-round activity, and GiftNow is another way Target can be there for guests — for both last-minute shopping and even when guests are running a little late on things,” said Dawn Block, Target’s senior VP of digital. “GiftNow allows Target guests to easily and instantly send gifts, which is especially handy during busy times like the holidays.”

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