The latest IRUK Top500 Performance Dimension Reports focus on Mobile & Cross Channel and Operations & Logistics. Emma Herrod shares some of the findings.
Also accompanying this issue of InternetRetailing’s print magazine is the IRUK Top 500 Mobile & Cross Channel Dimension Report – sponsored by iAdvize.
Mobile is an important tool for all retailers. More than any other device, the smartphone has empowered shoppers to buy what they want, when they want to, and have it delivered to the most convenient place. Technology has at last enabled retail to fit round customers’ lives, rather than forcing shoppers to adapt to the way that retailers prefer to sell.
Customers are responding positively, and it’s small wonder that Top500 retailers are reporting ever-higher proportions of traffic and sales taking place via the supercomputer that’s now in most people’s pockets. This presents both challenges and opportunities for retailers.
The opportunities lie in the widening out of the shopping moment: retailers’ wares can be laid before a customer at any moment of the day or night, enabling an impulse or a remembered task to turn much more easily into a sale.
The challenges come as retailers jostle for space on the small screen for a share of customers’ attention. If smartphones make shopping that little bit easier, then retailers must ensure their user experience is just that – plus convenient and efficient into the bargain. It’s also important to remember that most retail transactions still take place in stores, making the kinds of strategies that tie mobile into a wider, cross-channel framework critical.
Retailers and brands are responding to this cross-channel challenge in imaginative and innovative ways. Throughout the pages of the Mobile & Cross Channel Dimension Report, the research team analysed how they’re doing that.
They look in detail at the findings of RetailX research into how Top500 retailers are using mobile websites and apps, and what they’re doing to build cross-channel links between the store and online, while investigating through practical examples, case studies and interviews just how retailers are responding to changing behaviour when it comes to retail.
It’s clear from the findings that retailers of all shapes and sizes are understanding and responding to new, connected retail.
“Around 10% of UK households now have a smart speaker device, so we think voice activation is set to be one of the next big retail shifts when it comes to technology,” says Paul Wilkinson, head of technology research at Tesco Labs, during an interview with InternetRetailing’s Mobile Editor Paul Skeldon.
Other retailers highlighted in the report include Marks & Spencer which is singled out for its work bringing social media into its cross channel operations. Shoppers are increasingly turning to new platforms to shop from and social site Instagram, with its 500m daily users, is leading the charge. M&S has become one of the early retail adopters of the channel, which has now been enhanced by being made shoppable.
Sainsbury’s too is highlighted – for its trials of checkout free shopping. Natalie Dunn, Sainsbury’s Head of Customer Experience comments: “Experimenting with a checkout-free experience is a first for Sainsbury’s and for many of our customers, so we are keen to understand how we can take the concept and develop an offering that is genuinely useful for those who shop with us. We may be some way off from rolling this out but we’re excited to have taken the first step.”
The IRUK Top 500 Operations & Logistics Dimension Report has also been sent out with this issue of the magazine. Further copies of this – and any of the other Performance Dimension Reports can be downloaded from internetretailing.net.