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Conclusion – May 2016

AS WE’VE DISCOVERED time and again compiling this Dimension Report, mobile commerce is driving retail growth. Retailers know this, yet there’s a curious paradox here: in practice, many companies still treat mobile as if it’s somehow separate from the rest of the business.

This is beginning to change, but for many companies there’s still a long way to go. In contrast, those retailers that have performed well in the Mobile & Cross-channel Dimension are not only using mobile to glue together different channels, but are putting mobile first.

This approach will become more commonplace in the years ahead, but we shouldn’t underestimate the difficulties here. Not the least of these is finance. Building an app, for example, is not in itself a cheap undertaking. Building an app that’s robust and gives customers genuinely useful features, and then testing and updating this app on a regular basis, can be very expensive indeed.

So is there a significant ROI from such work? As yet, those retailers that have decided there is tend, as a group, to be the larger companies in the IRUK Top500. Nevertheless, we’ve also come across examples of nimble specialist retailers that have been able to utilise mobile technologies in imaginative and innovative ways.

Mat Braddy of Rock Pamper Scissors makes interesting comments here. He posits a world where the convenience of mobile trumps choice. Is he correct? We’re not yet sure, but his challenge to longer-established businesses is likely to find echoes in developments elsewhere.

By this, we mean we’re moving towards a retail landscape where new business models and new approaches, many of which begin with mobile, are going to become more commonplace. For retailers, this poses profound questions around whether companies are prepared for what lies ahead.

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