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Dreaming the m-possible dream

The speed with which consumer smart mobile device ownership has grown in recent years is driving major changes for both consumers and retailers. We spoke with Demandware’s Jamus Driscoll who shared his vision of the possibilities for m-commerce.

Jamus, it’s fair to say that consumers are driving mcommerce more than ever before…

That’s right, in fact I believe that most retailers are playing catch up with consumers. Shoppers want the best of all channels and frankly, if they are not provided for they will move on to a retailer doing a better job. It’s not a case of consumers plugging in to what retailers are offering, but retailers plugging in to the way consumers transact.

What are retailers doing, or what do they need to do to catch up?

It’s worth understanding, and this is not breaking news, that the changing face of retail means retailers must learn to move faster in order to keep pace with consumer expectations of what defines a great shopping experience. The volume of projects on a retailer’s desk is larger than they have experienced for years. In addition many retailers are tied up maintaining older technologies that slow down innovation and, as a result, delay growth. But it is clear that they must change and move faster in order to deliver a great shopping experience for their customers. M-Commerce is still in its infancy, but it already plays an important role to the consumer. This will only continue to grow and retailers need to make sure they are positioned to adapt quickly as M-Commerce requirements continue to evolve. As stated, M-Commerce is already playing an important role in the shopping experience. Retailers need to identify the mobile services their customers expect, and how they can offer these services to their customers, bearing in mind that you cannot do everything at once and one size does not necessarily fit all.

So Jamus, what do those services look like?

Well some of them exist right now and some are on the way, but they are all possible. The future landscape looks something like this:

  • Discovery, the ability to locate any product on any device wherever you are, and using geo-location to help find that product – extending the store inside out;
  • Endless aisle and a single inventory does the opposite, it affords a store with limited space the opportunity to bring outside inventory in – extending the warehouse in-store;
  • Mobile POS will let shoppers pay through their smart devices, which removes hard-wired, cumbersome EPOS systems. The opportunity to use pop-up retail units is greatly increased as a result;
  • In many stores staff and customers are not operating on a level playing field – customers enter the store armed with more product information than the sales assistant. Providing staff with mobile devices gives them instant product information and stock availability, allowing them to sell more;
  • Apps and social content both add to the mix by building a narrative around product, for example recipe videos with links to ingredients, how to guides with links to products;
  • Flexible delivery can mean ordering on mobile and collecting in store, ordering in store and having delivery to home or a collection point. These are innovations that clearly remove barriers to purchase. The key point that I have heard from many retailers is “if I have the item in stock somewhere, I want to be able to sell it anywhere, at any time”.

Amongst all this innovation two things are abundantly clear. First, having an infrastructure that allows retailers to respond quickly to everchanging consumer requirements is extremely important. Second, staff empowerment through good training, a useable tool set and a creative incentive scheme will ensure that brand ambassadors can deliver a personalised and profitable service that maximizes the potential of mcommerce for both the retailer and the consumer.

So m-commerce is no dream, it is all eminently possible within realistic timeframes. These are very exciting times, and for those smart retailers who find they can move fast, the speed of growth will be impressive.

Jamus Driscoll

Demandware General Manager EMEA, Jamus Driscoll, is responsible for leading the company’s EMEAregion. He joined Demandware from Oracle Corp., where, as Director of Marketing, he was a member of Oracle Retail’s marketing steering committee and leader of the marketing teams for Solutions Marketing and Customer Marketing. Prior to Oracle, Mr. Driscoll was at ProfitLogic, Inc., a provider of enterprise merchandising software, where he was the Director of Solutions Marketing responsible for positioning and marketing to primary enterprise customers. Before joining ProfitLogic, Mr. Driscoll served as Industry Marketing Manager at Ascential Software, a provider of enterprise data integration solutions, and was responsible for market analysis, strategy and go-to-market tactics for the financial services industry. Driscoll holds a Bachelor’s degree in English from Haverford College.

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