InternetRetailing’s latest Europe Top500 Performance Dimension Report focuses on mobile and cross-channel. Emma Herrod reports on the findings.
European shoppers are steadily adopting the smartphone, albeit at a slower rate than elsewhere in the world, and using it to shop online. Leading retailers in the InternetRetailing Europe Top500 Mobile & Cross-channel Performance Dimension, as sponsored by POQ , are responding by making it easier for consumers to buy using their phones. Mobile is not only a research and buying channel in its own right, but also plays a key role in connecting online and the store. However, the average retailer still lags behind the best, suggesting there are opportunities for those that act strategically to work with shoppers’ emerging behaviour patterns.
This is especially poignant when you consider that 34% of the Europe Top500 don’t have a mobile app. Internet Retailing’s researchers go even further saying that “even the retailers performing most strongly need to make incremental improvements as a way to prepare for an Internet of Things-enabled world.” Thus are some of the findings of the Europe Top500 Mobile & Cross-channel Performance Dimension Report, which is distributed with this issue of InternetRetailing magazine.
As with each of the IREU Top500 reports, InternetRetailing’s research team analyse how successful multinational retailers go about competing with local indigenous traders through the use of country-specific strategies, taking into account language, culture and legalities of retailer’s sites in each market. In all, retailers in 31 countries across the European Economic Area, plus Switzerland, are assessed. This InternetRetailing Europe Report highlights examples of innovative practice being demonstrated by retailers throughout Europe as they respond to the challenges by offering sophisticated apps and tying channels together through collection and return-to-store services. Coop Denmark, for example, took an innovative approach to understanding its customers before launching its mobile loyalty app across the entire chain of 1,200 stores. Denmark’s largest retailer of consumer goods sent an anthropologist along with its Chief Technology Officer, Kraen Østergård Nielsen, to live, shop and cook with a family of Coop customers. During that time, they used the experience to talk about the daily problems and challenges the family faced as consumers when trying to use all the technology available to them in online and mobile retailing.
Nielsen was just one Coop Denmark staffer to go native. In order to better understand its customers, many staff spent time living with 28 different families. “It’s been claimed by others that this type of research was quite revolutionary, but to us it was common sense,” says Nielsen. “To understand our customers, we have to talk to them and see what their lives are like.” The resulting mobile loyalty app from Coop Denmark has enabled the retailer to provide fulfilment, convenience and personalisation at every touchpoint along with inspirational recipes and cookery videos.
This is just one innovative approach to mobile and cross-channel retailing highlighted in the report. The researchers also highlight 12 ways in which retailers should be preparing today for a mobile-first world. These include:
-Build a mobile-optimised website.
-A mobile-optimised website, while essential, is just an ‘on-ramp’ for your company’s mobile retail environment – retailers need this on-ramp to lead customers to their apps.
-An alternative to having both a mobile-optimised website and an app is to try Progressive Web Apps (PWA).
-Whether using an app, m-web or PWA, retailers need to pay close attention to images.
-Millennials and Gen-Y shoppers – who are increasingly becoming the bulk of spenders – have different shopping habits.
-Mobiles are mobile – so let them interact with the different environments that they find themselves in.
-Building on this location idea, retailers need to look at how to use shopper location to understand consumers’ proximity to things that retailers can target them with.
-Building on this connection between mobile and in-store, retailers need to think about all the other ways they can leverage mobile devices in and around physical stores.
-Mobile in the store is not just for the customers: mobilise staff.
-In-store and at large, augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are going to have a big role to play in mobile retail.
-Where VR and AR are cutting-edge technologies that garner extensive column inches, the real big thing that all retailers need to be working on is voice enablement.
-And real live humans are also going to be augmented with artificial intelligence.
In the coming years, InternetRetailing will continue to assess the way that retailers trade in what’s likely to be a highly volatile retail environment by putting the hard data of InternetRetailing research into a wider, and practical, context. As always, the research team is interested to hear from readers about how they think they should judge and understand retail strategies – do share your thoughts.