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Fashion Week, French Connection, Amazon and Brexit all show how important mobile commerce is to retail

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Fashion is fast. Fashion is forward. Fashion is, well, fashionable. No surprise then that it perhaps more than most in retail is embracing mobile with alacrity.

With London Fashion Week in full swing this week, research by Ampersand finds that Burberry, Oasis, Warehouse and House of Fraser are the top rated mobile in multichannel retailers. Liberty, MiuMiu, Craghoppers and Asics are among the most improved.

This is backed up by French Connection , which in posting its annual results shows that 30% of its sales now happen on mobile and 45% of its traffic comes through smartphones and tablets.

The fashion world is all over mobile. Or rather, fashion conscious shoppers are all over mobile – trend setting not just with their trousers!

According to Ampersand, consumer appetite for cross-channel, mobile-initiated purchasing has increased by 22% since 2015 with 56% of consumers now having researched products on their mobile with the intent of purchasing later in-store. However, only 30% of high street retailers offer a store stock check from their mobile websites.

Whilst 71% of consumers have looked up the location or opening times of a retailer, only 68% of retailers display the main store locator link in the most prominent position on their mobile websites – the top menu. 44 percent of retailers do not utilise automatic or ‘find near me’ geolocation options on store locator pages, and 12% of retailers do not display store hours on their mobile websites at all, making it more difficult for consumers to find store information on the go.

And this is with many still feeling that the experience one gets from mobile when shopping is poor. Imagine what could be done if mobile user experience was great?

But perhaps it doesn’t need to be? The convenience of mobile – its right there in your pocket any time, any place – is what is driving this rapid and fashionable growth.

Being able to whip out a mobile and research and buy while in store – or while doing anything else pretty much – is a powerful draw. According to research by marketing technology company, Kenshoo, 72% of consumers in the USA, Germany, UK and France now visit Amazon when they want to research products online before making a purchase and over a quarter (26%) of Amazon users admit to checking for alternatives, background information and prices on the site when they come up on a potential purchase in a physical store – on a mobile.

But there is, as ever, more to mobile commerce than just Amazon and showrooming. While convenience is, I believe a key driver that currently for the mobile generation trumps experience, it is also part of the changing mood of shoppers.

The link between Brexit and mobile isn’t obvious, but such a sea change in the running of our country is making people question everything – and that is making people look at shopping anew.

Research by VoucherCodes reveals that the political uncertainty has encouraged retailers to focus on investment and adaptability in order to future-proof their businesses. In terms of investments, it appears mobile is still king. In fact, mobile commerce remains one of the few areas retailers are confident will remain stable, with 100% of all retailers surveyed believing the UK’s mobile retail presence will be even stronger by 2022.

Who knows? Only time will tell on that one. But while experience is important and all those ‘single view of the customer data projects’ are all valid, the convenience of mobile coupled with the British shoppers seeming desire to throw caution to the wind and shake the world up a bit is having a bigger effect than you’d think. And with Brexit uncertainty set to continue for years (if not decades), mobile won’t be going out of fashion any time soon.



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