Mobile Retail: the Next Consumer Experience

In store mobile enhanced shoppingAs online shopping steadily expands worldwide, eCommerce sites must offer fast access and smooth experience to drive conversion and revenues. Data from IBM’s Digital Analytics Benchmark indicates that mobile traffic steadily drives 25 percent of total online traffic to retail sites. Mobile sales were up by more than 55 percent on Cyber Monday 2013 as compared to 2012, with one out of every five online sales coming from a mobile device.

Response time drives online sales

In order to enhance the shopping experience retail apps load their pages with beautiful pictures and engaging videos.  However, the slow loading mobile times have the opposite effect on sales. Slow loading time is a leading cause of shopping cart abandonment and reduction in conversion rates (Walmart 2012). To increase sales and improve conversion, retailers need to deliver a fast mobile user experience.

walmart coversion versus web page download times

The intersection of physical and digital retail channels

As mobile devices availability and usage grows, the line between the digital and brick and mortar retail worlds becomes blurred. According to a Google 2013 report, 84% of the shoppers use their phone for shopping related activities while in the store. According to Google, the shopping basket increases due to cell phone usage.

This is a unique opportunity for brick and mortar retailers. If they can harness shoppers’ mobile devices to enhance the in-store experience they will increase sales and differentiate their brand.

Some of the applications are already here. Location based services can identify shoppers and proactively engage them in the store. Augmented reality and context based multimedia can create an amazing personalized shopping experience.

The challenge is integrating these novel technologies into mobile networks to ensure smooth handovers and a fast, engaging user experience. Today, mobile networks are struggling to meet the growing data consumption. As a result, web loading times are slow and video streaming full of interruptions. To deliver media-intensive retail applications to mobile devices, both retailers and mobile network operators need to adopt a faster user-location-aware approach to mobile content delivery.