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Easier said than done: are we really meeting consumers’ needs for mobile?

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Scientists from the University of Surrey are in the headlines in today’s M-Retailing newsletter for the work they’re doing to ensure that mobile phones never run out of energy – harnessing the power of pants to do so. It’s an amusing headline but one with a serious side. It does reflect the huge and growing importance of smartphones and other mobile devices in shoppers’ lives. It’s hard to understate how important these devices are, especially to busy people, such as new mothers or on-the-go commuters, who often can’t always stop what they’re doing to fire up a desktop or laptop but can easily check their smartphones. The creative energy of these scientists, and of many in the industry, is directed towards increasing the ease and convenience of smartphones and other mobile devices. Today we’re also hearing about easy mobile payments being introduced by Spanish department store El Corte Ingles, helping to satisfy what Barclaycard and other industry figures this week identified as a growing appetite for contactless and mobile payments.

But these efforts still aren’t meeting the needs of all consumers, according to a new study from equimedia, which suggests that although many baby-related brands are optimised for mobile, their website download speeds via smartphones are still behind where they should be. And another study this week reminds us that it’s more complicated than targeting one group of customers in one way. That parent looking for baby-related products – and let’s not forget that fathers do this too – will another day be a busy time-pressed commuter, doing their shopping as they perhaps dash to the nursery for pick-up, or another day head off on a business trip. A report from Black Pepper Software this week reminds us that the consumer has many faces, that change according to the context of each shopping mission: an agile approach, it suggests, will help retailers to meet these needs.

Today we’re also looking at some of the technology retailers are bringing to bear in their efforts to meet customers’ demands: chatbots are on the agenda for many businesses, suggests new Ovum research, while we also feature surprising findings from Forrester around how many US retailers are now integrating public cloud services into their businesses, suggesting that the benefits now outweigh the risks.

Today’s guest comment comes from Tom Smith, head of biddable media at mporium and Adam Chugg, head of biddable at the7stars, who discuss how linking generic search terms to impactful moments in linear TV can reap rewards for ecommerce and bricks and mortar alike.

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