Mobile computing is transforming the retail industry. Shoppers are hitting the stores with smartphones in hand, comparing prices and making purchases.
Forrester Research is predicting mobile commerce will hit $31 billion by 2016 with a compounded annual growth rate of 39 percent. And that’s a conservative estimate.
Anybody that’s not on the bandwagon is losing out. Mobile computing is infrastructure-driven and therein lies the problem for many retailers who still rely on outdated systems. There are still a lot of retailers running mainframes and they’ve got to wake up and smell the coffee.
According to an article on stores.org, consumers have clearly adapted to smartphones. One in every three Americans age 13 and older owns one, and more than half of the nation is expected to have a smartphone by 2015. Retailers are trying to cash in on the mobile revolution by developing apps and mobile-optimized e-commerce sites.
“So far there is more buzz than business, but there’s no question that it’s an exciting and evolving time,” said Steve Rowen, managing partner at Retail Systems Research, in the article. “Customers will reward retailers for trying — you don’t have to have the coolest mobile site, but you need to get the basics right.”
Businesses also need to make mobile an integral part of the brand experience, another expert said in the article. “The days of segmenting the business by stores, e-commerce, catalog and mobile are over,” he said. “The consumer looks at your brand and sees one retailer.”
Source: STORES.org, November 2011