M-Commerce, second screens, digi-coupons—there will likely be no global discussions of retail that do not involve mobile and its lexicon in 2013.
The partnership between retail and mobile devices might be dynamic, but it may transform into the most comprehensive shopping revolution since Mrs. Jane Snowball became the first teleshopper in 1984.
Tapping into the mobile stream will be top priority for global retailers; yet, experts suggest that retailers will largely go about fishing for customers through predictable means.
In-store mobile and serious app-titude
Market intelligence firm VDC Research reported in San Francisco Gate that retailers will be scrambling to catch up to consumers’ mobile apps by developing mobile platforms “that enable them to engage and transact directly with consumers on the retail floor.” VDC asserts that “consumers are increasingly interested in using retailer-developed and third-party apps within retail environments, and many of these apps require the consumer to present a barcode.”
Currently, third-party apps allow consumers to price-shop, read reviews, and obtain detailed information about products, brands, and services. Retailers are looking to develop point of sales apps, however, and to provide their own brand of barcode-scan solutions and even mobile transactions and receipts. To facilitate all this app-ing, look for many retailers to promote free in-store wireless, according to a report from Bizcommunity.
Mobile offers, digital coupons—look for retailers to out-discount their competition with a flood of mobile specials in 2013. According to a Mashable report by Grocery Coupon Network co-founder Jeff Hudson, “online couponing allows for great promotion and wider distribution for brands. It also provides companies with better reach and the ability to track consumer preferences and patterns.” Retailers will likely position their mobile offers for both local and global consumers in accordance with the nature of their business.
On the other hand, a staffer with Wall Street Journal’s Market Watch views the “retailers’ embrace of mobile deals” as “part sales grab, part preservation.” While the report reinforces the notion that mobile will, indeed, play a “growing role inretail sales,” it also mentions that keeping track of online coupons can be as tedious as organizing the paper kind. To combat this digital chaos of coupons, look for more location-based apps to trigger coupon deals when consumers “check-in” to stores, a shrewd way to make that digi-deal as convenient as possible.
TV + mobile
If retailers can’t grab consumers with mobile coupons, they might try partnering their mobile campaign with the TV. In its same report about 2013 retail trends, Bizcommunity predicts that using “a phone or tablet whilst watching television will reach new heights in 2013.” This second screen, as the mobile device is dubbed, allows for web interactions involving search engines, review sites, and social media sites to name a mere few. Also app-driven, this marriage between the two screens is predicted to play a significant role in the mobile marketing game.
Social marketing campaigns
A recent report by Forbes indicates that social media is likely to continue to affect brand-awareness in 2013 if not direct sales. As retailers become more savvy users of social platforms, the relevance of social sites for marketers is only going to increase. When it comes to Facebook, what a “like” may mean for retailers is just what the analytics will try to unravel in 2013 as marketers work to gauge the impact of their social media campaigns. Expect retailers to steer their marketing resources to newer social sites like Pinterest whose traffic “has doubled in the last year,” according to Forbes.
Optimizing for mobile
All of these trends point toward the one obvious obstacle for online businesses and retailers—the absolute necessity to optimize their web-presence for mobile.
Websites that do not optimize their mobile site may find that their mobile-friendly competitors are winning their customers. As the year’s global trends in mobile unfold, it is merely a matter of course that retailers who market for mobile, develop mobile apps, and maintain a social media presence are going to be the ones that set the precedents, obtain the powerful marketing analytics, and generate discussion throughout the industry.
The ones that don’t embrace mobile in the coming months—they’re likely to have to play catch-up when it comes to everything from page-ranking to growing their business if they want to be viable in the digital realm.
Embracing any one of these trends is likely to be a move in the right direction for retailers around the globe.