IT services and solutions for retail and hospitality

  • 3 Oct 2011

Round Up of the Retail Bulletin Mobile Summit 2011

Alex IevinsLast week I attended the Retail Bulletin Mobile Summit. The summit kicked off with a key statistic which sets the level of importance held for retailers with mobile: 42% of organisations in the UK currently have a mobile strategy in place.

One of the key questions posed on the day was whether you needed a mobile optimised website or a native app. The answer to this was that you need both. The debate also continued with the question of whether to develop an app for Apple or Android software, the answer again was both.

A point for retailers when developing their mobile optimised site is to ensure that it mirrors the functions of the full website. Providing streamlined information, yet detail on the product pages. The guidance from the retailers on the day was around making incremental changes rather than a large step change where ever possible.

Some of the barriers to mobile shopping at present are:

  • Poor user experience
  • Screen size
  • Security (there is still some apprehension around buying via mobile)

Purchasers expect all of the above to be good, so if they are not it may lead to loss of sales.

It is said that the multichannel customers are 6 times more valuable than mobile customers only.  So allowing mobile to become part of that wider multichannel mix is much more valuable than just mobile alone. Trends from mobile purchasers seem to be that they are spending more and frequently. Family and AB’s are the most frequent purchasers online.

In terms of mobile traffic Shop Direct stated that one third of all mobile sales came through tablet devices. It was also observed that conversation rates have doubled following mobile optimisation of sites at Shop Direct Group.

An interesting example of how mobile can drive sales whilst the customer is physically in the bricks and mortar store was given by Harrods. They have developed a geo-location navigation app to enable shoppers to be directed throughout the store towards their favourite brand or department. Developing an app also allows the retailer to be social and extend the relationship outside the store.

One of the important lessons from the day came from Andy Tudor, Head of Multichannel Solutions at Retail Assist in which he suggested that mobile isn’t a channel on its own.  It cuts right through the whole customer experience.

When discussing future mobile technologies some of the predictions made were around:

-Allowing the customer to access product / product files on the phone, in terms of what is on the high street, including augmented reality.

– Increasing the speed of mobile web.

-The integration of NFC for payment, offers and loyalty schemes.

Do you agree with these predictions, or do you have others of your own? Post your comments below or email

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