The Overwhelming Influence of Mobile Devices in the Retail Industry

For as long as we can remember, retailers have sought out new and innovative ways to get consumers into traditional brick-and-mortar stores throughout all kinds of exciting marketing initiatives.  Once the customer was inside the store, retailers worked hard to convert that customer into a sale.  In 1994, Amazon, primarily an online bookstore at the time, launched and began a course that would forever change the retail industry.  Later, in 2007, the iPhone was released into the market and led to a cultural shift in the way people view and interact with their mobile devices.  Today, Walmart is becoming more and more of an e-commerce player in the market, and Amazon is poised to become the biggest clothing retailer in the U.S.  The acceleration of change and proliferation of new technology over the last 10 years has been a real challenge to retailers trying to keep up with changing consumer preferences.  But, has the ultimate goal changed?  Retailers are still looking for ways to get consumers to interact with the brand and the products and ultimately covert those consumers into sales.  But now it’s no longer through the Sunday advert, but rather through the mobile device.

There are very few customer experiences today that don’t involve a mobile device.  That’s not to say that sales are ultimately converted on the mobile device; generally they’re not.  But, the mobile comes into play in a variety of ways that may lead to the final sale.  The customer may have opened a marketing email on their device, or, perhaps they used their mobile to look up customer reviews while standing inside the store.  Many customers may even use their mobile to find the product they want, only to then switch over to a desktop to make the final purchase.  Unlike the past, today’s customers are always connected and, better yet, are connected everywhere, which is a real opportunity for forward-thinking retailers.           

According to the Forrester Data Online Retail Forecast, 2016 To 2021 (U.S.), nearly 12% of total U.S. retail sales are conducted online, a number that continues to grow each year.  But, only 1% of total U.S. retail sales are done via a mobile device.  However, the same data shows that roughly 31% of total U.S. retail sales were influenced in some manner by a mobile device.  This means that more than $1 trillion of U.S. sales last year were influenced by a mobile device, a truly massive number.

Many retailers are including mobile technology as a top priority for 2017 and for good reason.  These initiatives may include design, mobile optimization, mobile payment options, data analysis, product research and review or even app development.  Consider what ways your customers could be using mobile devices to interact with you and your products.  Then, develop a strategy aimed at improving that customer experience or reaching a broader consumer base.  With 31% of consumer spending being influenced by a mobile device, an inadequate mobile strategy could have an overall negative impact on your business.      

For more information on how mobile devices are influencing the retail industry, contact us

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