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Joining the dots

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I love it when a plan comes together – just as it is as Internet Retailing Expo (26-27 March at the NEC) hoves into view. I particularly love it when lots of plans come together. And this week I have been in rapture, not just because of Valentine’s Day, but also because suddenly things are really starting to happen in the world of m-commerce: plans are coming together.

Research by eBay suggests that having a fully integrated omni-channel strategy is key to keeping online and offline sales growing. Mobile in particular helping to drive the rise of so called ‘super shoppers’ who account for 70% of retail spend and who do so by judicious use of devices and channels.

At the same time, however, network operator joint venture Weve is starting to pull together all the disparate strands of technology around m-commerce and is starting to create some interesting offerings through partnerships and trials that could not only shake up how m-commerce works, but which offer added impetus to the companies targeted in Ampersand’s research to actually capitalise on the opportunity outlined by eBay.

Weve, you see, has brought together a partnership with MasterCard and a trial with EAT to showcase how it can connect 80% of mobile phone users – all the people who are customers of Weve partners O2, EE and Vodafone – with the banking network. They want to make NFC the standard for m-payments on the back of this (no chance!), but the linking of these two worlds (banking and networks) offers the chance to pull together the strands needed to make m-payments mainstream.

Similarly, trialling NFC based loyalty with EAT, Weve are again offering an insight into how the joined up mobile experience can work.

And this is the plan coming together. Finally, everyone involved is getting their act together on mobile – and seeing it for what it really is: part of the bigger picture as to how retail now works.

But not everyone gets it. Research from Ampersand Commerce, which finds that even über-brands such as Currys, Carphone Warehouse, Homebase and lastminute.com are not getting this – and are losing out as a result. It concludes that many businesses aren’t on board with having a joined up omni-channel approach and this is really going to leave them behind.

Similarly, we also discover that SMEs are also ignoring the mobile element of having an e-commerce approach and that they are set to lose out too.

This isn’t an empty threat. eBay’s research – done independently by Deloitte – really does show that joining the dots across channels is key to selling. And where better to start to learn how to do this than across the six excellent conference sessions at Internet Retailing Expo (IRX) on 26-27 March at the NEC in Birmingham?

Covering in store, mobile and mobility, digital sales and marketing, international digital commerce, customer experience the conferences offer retailers and SMEs all you need to know to join these dots. So to get on board get your FREE PASSS here
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