GUEST OPINION Spring retailing: time to spruce up your mobile offering
Spring has sprung – and so has a new financial year. Here Simon Piesse, Principal Consultant at North Highland offers some top tips as to how to Spring Clean your mobile offering to make more of what you already have
It’s spring – out with the old and in with the new. For many of the UK’s largest retailers spring is also the beginning of the new financial year and a time when tactical projects are shaped for delivery before peak and long term big bets receive their funding. At the top of the list for the majority of retailers will be answering the question ‘How do we make more of mobile?’
If you have been in hibernation for winter you may have missed that 76% of the UK population now own a smart phone with 51% of all ecommerce sales coming through the mobile channel. This market has seen unprecedented growth over the past few years with sales growth in smart phones reaching 117% in December 2015 and many retailers now playing catch up with their mobile capability. This lack of investment is estimated to be costing the retail industry at least £6.6bn a year.
With this in mind, the following should be top of retailer’s spring redecoration list for mobile:
New User Experience
Retailers need to throw out their old clunky user designs and switch to an experience that will delight customers with functionality that inspires interaction across all device types. As few as 2.3% of retailers believe their mobile offering is cutting edge and only 10% of retailers invested substantially more in mobile last year. There appears to be real opportunity for growth and to entice new/existing customers. Creating a dedicated application will allow retailers to move away from Google search and into a one to one conversation with their customer.
Cross Channel Conversion
Sprucing up stores to enable a personalised shopping experience is key, with 78% of customers saying they’d be more likely to purchase from a retailer again if it targeted their needs. 60% of the UK population believe retailers should offer in store wifi access and that there is much more retailers can be doing. This is in addition to methods already in use such as mobile payment, scanning and checkout (e.g. Sainsbury’s Smart Shop App), QR Codes, NFC, iBeacons, live chat, mobile coupons & discounts, up to date store information, stock levels and customer ordering (much like McDonalds & Starbucks) to name but a few.
76% of customers find retail staff that use smart tech (e.g. watches, phones, tablets) devices appealing. Retailers will be looking to take advantage of smart tech and the rewards it can bring by enhancing internal processes and customer interaction by trialling it as part of concept stores and new store designs. For example, Halfords recently trialled smart watches as part of a click and collect picking process. Smart tech will provide the simplest way to connect their workforce and offer a seamless customer experience.
The routing out of threats and securing against cyber criminals’ ability to take advantage of emerging mobile-enabled practices is crucial. New laws like the General Data Protection Regulation will mean there are much more serious consequences for poor data security. Currently, firms can be fined £500,000 for losing customers’ data. In 2018, retailers could be fined up to 4% of worldwide revenue for negligence alongside the impact on share price, market share, brand and customer numbers (15% said they will never shop with a retailer again in the case of a data leak). The most trusted retailers are therefore likely to be the ones that can best protect their customers’ data.
The retailers that redecorate their offering to make the most of mobile, using it as the key linkage in their omni-channel business, will be the big winners in 2016.