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Heavenly bodies

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We can land a remote controlled probe on a comet 300million miles away. This is testament to the great ingenuity of humanity and the advance of science and technology. Back here on Earth, technology is revolutionising the way we live and no more so than the way we shop. But, like landing on a comet, what makes it great when it works is just how hard it is to do it in the first place.

The same applies to mobile retail. The technology is there and the drive from consumer to make it happen is there, but it is really hard to put into practice. And it would seem that those with deep pockets are the only ones that can make the technological leap.

As our lead story points out, half of all Europe’s e-comm traffic is soon to be coming from mobile. In the UK in the run up to Christmas, sales through mobile are already picking up. Consumers are leading the way.

However, one of the key trends across brands and retail now and into 2015 is the widening gulf between those that can do mobile well and those who can’t.

This has already been suggested by our own IRUK 500 research that was given away free to delegates at Internet Retailing Conference back in October and which is hitting your desk any day now with the latest edition of the magazine.

In our research we can see that there are some key companies that are charging ahead in mobile – not least Argos , which achieved a near perfect score for mobile – but there are many more that are lying way behind the leaders.

This disparity has also been noted by Forrester, which sees this gulf only widening through 2015 as those that get it – and can afford to keep apace with the demands of consumers – are going to surge ahead, while those that can’t keep up will lag ever further behind.

So will we then see a form of natural selection play out across the retail space? Those that can service the ever more demanding consumer across multiple channels will survive and the others will die? Well, undoubtedly there will be casualties in 2015, but I think that this all or bust idea is not how it will be at all.

Sure consumers want ease of engagement, but they are sort of getting that anyway. If you really want to buy something then you will buy it – even if it does mean trying to type your credit card number into a tiny phone screen on an unoptimised website.

The bigger issue is that no one seems to be getting the idea of mobile SEO right: this is how the casual shopper will find your goods and buy from you. And this means taking into account adaptive design, location and a host of other factors when designing the SEO for you mobile site. This is perhaps more likely where the gulf between the mobile winners and losers lies. It may not be a comet, but hitting it just right is going to be hard.

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