Tell me what you want, what you really, really want…
“It’s clear the retail industry is undergoing an unprecedented wave of disruption and innovation” writes Eden Zoller, Principle Analyst, Ovum off the back of a study
by the analyst and performance marketing company Criteo
. A visit to the ‘high street’ would suggest that this disruption and innovation is still safely locked away in the boardroom, yet to reach the shops, but the point is a good one: retail is in a pickle.
The pickle is partly that technology moves so fast it is impossible for retailers to keep up with the changes in tech. The rapid evolution of technology, however, has an even more potent side-kick: changing consumer habits. These are moving even faster and it is very hard to work out which habits consumers exhibit around shopping are the ones that will impact your particular retail business.
The Criteo study suggests – as many increasingly do – that mobile now accounts for at least half of all e-commerce traffic. But that alone is not enough to build a mobile strategy and to convince the board to invest millions in new tech. What are these people doing on mobile and how can we tap into it? That’s a much better question to be asking – and yet research into this is thin on the ground.
The best we have this week
is that 83% of consumers read emails from retailers during the morning commute on their mobiles, according to a new study by retail marketing agency Leapfrogg
We also know that personalization of marketing can also do the trick – netting The Entertainer a 120% rise in mobile sales
But what consumers really want to do and how they want to do it is information that is sadly elusive – perhaps no one has asked them fearing what the answer might be? In the week that much lauded m-payments tool M-Pesa – which has been held up as the exemplar par excellence
of the brave new world of mobile payments – has been closed because so few people were using it (76,000 out of the 10million it hoped to attract) it maybe that no one is asking consumers what they want because the answer is not what retailers nor tech companies want to hear?
One set of stats that does get close this week is from digital customer experience agency Rockpool
. It asked 1000 shoppers about the whole shopping experience and found some interesting things
The result was, as it turned out, not what we all want to hear (but what we all secretly know) – that consumers are basically frustrated with interactions with retailers on every platform. Omni-channel retail is becoming something of an omni-frustration.
They want to go to shops and try before they buy; they want to check things out online too – then go and try them and touch them. They see the PC as second only to the store. More alarmingly, they see mobile as potentially really useful, but they get such a poor experience from it that that is the main frustration for them and why omni-channel still has a way to go.
How does this tally with the Criteo et al view of 50%+ of e-commerce traffic coming from mobile? As an optimist I would say that that shows that shoppers want
mobile to be their way to shop, but they get a bad experience so moan about it to people with clipboards doing surveys.
This is heartening in a way as it means that it is what consumers want. All we have to do, as an industry, is give it to them.