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EDITORIAL How mobile has reshaped retail and retail marketing

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Mobile has come to dominate the ecommerce conversation post-pandemic, with the shopping habits created in 2020 and 2021 continuing to dominate – and starting to make inroads into how retail businesses themselves are actually run.

Research out today from Klarna shows that 67% more shoppers in the UK shop using their mobile than they did in 2019, driven by the ready access they have to the device and the improving mobile experience that retailers, brands and marketplaces are all delivering to them.

What is most interesting, however, is that mobile plays a key role in way more than just browsing and buying. For consumers across all generations, the phone is now a key research tool, with 90% of them using it to compare prices and 94% to look for better deals and promotions, while 78% use it to find inspiration. And in a very 2022-ist twist, 67% do all this while in-store.

This perhaps says all you need to hear about modern retail: it is beyond hybrid and truly omni-channel. This may not be any different to what we all predicted would happen, however, the fact that the shopping journey is now so different and non-linear does come as a surprise. For many people, what it means to ‘go shopping’ is now a multi-channel, device-led process that can take place anywhere.

What is also fascinating – and crucial to know – is that this is cross generational. The research shows that the shift to mobile is happening to all demographics: from Gen Z (77%) and Millennials (79%) to Gen X (68%) and Baby Boomers (56%).

Mobile also underpins the whole marketing process too. A separate study from MoEngage, reveals that more consumers say they prefer to be contacted by mobile than by email.

Some 20% still prefer email, while 22% are mobile-led. This doesn’t take in, either, the 19% who prefer social media, which is predominantly a mobile thing these days.

This engagement through mobile has an interesting addendum: messaging. Increasingly, consumers are turning away from traditional forms of communications with retailers and brands – such as email, but also advertising and other marketing messages – and instead opting to contact the retailer or brand themselves with questions and queries. And this is happening through messaging, such as WhatsApp and even SMS.

Like mobile shopping, this is a massive shift in how retailers and consumers interplay and retailers need to not only be aware of the role mobile is playing in how consumers shop, but also how they are going to interact pre and post-purchase. It seems daunting, but there is an upside: you can get their phone number and their attention if you wait for them to come to you.

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