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Introduction – IRUK Mobile & Cross Channel November 2018

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 around 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 this report, we’re analysing how they’re doing that. We 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, and we investigate through practical examples, case studies and interviews just how retailers are responding to changing behaviour when it comes to retail.

It’s clear from our findings that retailers of all shapes and sizes are understanding and responding to new, connected retail. We hope that you find this report a useful read and we also look forward to your feedback on new areas that we should consider in future iterations of this research.

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