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Time for retailers to adapt to the reality of mobile commerce

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Shoppers who have a smartphone or tablet computer are increasingly using them to buy. Now, finds a study from BuzzCity and the Mobile Marketing Association, some 48% of mobile device owners are now using them to transact, while one in five browse products online before then buying in stores. But, the same study finds, retailers are still not ready for this shift in consumer behaviour and are losing sales as a result.

But it’s important retailers don’t get left behind as the technology evolves quickly, enabling shoppers to buy over their mobile phones and tablet computers ever more easily. Customers are changing behaviour accordingly – and retailers should too. That’s especially true in the light of figures from the same study that show in Asia Pacific mobile is the primary shopping channel, with 32% of consumers favouring this route, compared to a mere 21% who prefer PCs.

In today’s M-Retailing newsletter, M-Retailing editor Paul Skeldon covers some of the latest developments in the industry, from IBM’s collaboration with Apple to develop solutions that work well on iPhones and iPads, as well as figures that show iOS users make up the vast majority of mobile shoppers. At the same time, he reports, beacons are coming to the fore for Easyjet as it trials their use in airports, while Appflare is so keen to get its beacons out to retailers that it’s giving them away. All of this leaves few excuses for retailers who are slow to put mobile at the top of their priority list. The time to act is now, say both Appflare and IBM, in separate stories, as they warn that this is the season to get ready for Christmas.

Paul Skeldon is having a well-earned rest but will be back with the next issue of M-Retailing.

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