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Fine tuning the Lyre of Orpheus

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Mobile is so popular that even the dead are using it. Well, they will be if the SwonSong app takes off. This novel use of mobile – that let’s the dying save messages to be sent to their loved ones, post-mortem, via text, email or push notification (clearly taking no chances as to which has the best opening rates) – shows just how far mobile has penetrated life… or even death.

This song of mobile across the great divide – and platforms: it comes in Android and iOS – while not quite the mournful sound of the Lyre of Orpheus with the power to raise your loved ones from the dead, does show how mobile we are.

But not being tuned into this potent sound of technology, which like the tunes of Orpheus seemingly has the power to animate everything, is not being recognised by all living retailers. According to the Centre for Retail Research (CRR), the lag between the mobile habits of consumers and what retailers offer is quite a gulf: a gulf of £6.6billion a year.

Similarly retailers aren’t exploring the potential of mobile payments, with fewer than half actually having some sort of m-payments strategy in place, either.

And yet while the industry watchers – largely funded by tech companies – are pointing out the shortcomings of the retail industry in matching what consumers want to do with mobile with what services are actually available, a growing number of retailers are actually taking the mobile leap, albeit many still just dipping a toe in the water with an app, but it’s a start.

Jack Wills, Net-A-Porter and high end handbag maker Radley are all in the news this week rolling out apps and other mobile properties, but is it enough?

What retailers really need to consider is not that consumers are mobile, but that they are pretty much channel agnostic these days: they don’t really think in terms of channels, they are hopping about and just ‘do e-commerce’ on whatever they device is to hand. And that includes shops.

Understanding this is really the key. It’s not really about ‘going mobile’, its about how to do e-commerce across channels. This fundamental shift in view will resurrect the retail sector, close that £6.6billion chasm and, if SwonSong has its way, wake the dead. Time to tune up all the strings on your Orphian Lyre.

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