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Mobile A Must for Retailers

Mobile devices are revolutionizing the way people shop, connect with brands, and purchase goods and services.  While e-commerce represented a shift that added an online channel to physical stores, m-commerce represents a paradigm shift for retail.

Here are a few reasons why:

1)  E-commerce brought shopping to the web, m-commerce brings the web to shopping. Each shopper with a mobile device now has a computer, the internet, and apps that are part of their shopping experience influencing everything from brand choice to who they buy from and how.  This creates exciting opportunities to guide consumers in stores with shopping maps, product info, and recommended items. Sephora is a great example of a company that is using mobile to enhance the convenience and confidence of shoppers with personalized beauty recommendations, trend information and mobile offers inside and away from its stores.

2)  With m-commerce the consumer is in the driver’s seat.  The consumer chooses how to engage, when to engage, with whom and via which device and OS.  Consumers have high expectations that retailers and brands will be responsive and creative in ways to engage them.  They also expect that their privacy will be maintained even as location, past buying behavior and personalization data refine recommendations and offers.

3)  Mobile challenges retailers in new and complex ways.  Getting a robust online presence was hard enough but now that presence must also include responsive design that adapts to a variety of screen sizes on smartphones and tablets.  This is no easy feat for a fairly static set of products and is a big hurdle for retailers competing for consumer preference and dollars while trying to create an outstanding customer experience across changing product sets, varying locales, and a multitude of devices.

According to Branding Brand CEO Chris Mason, 40% of the top 500 retail sites lack a mobile version but a good mobile site is becoming de rigeur for all retailers. Retailers who want to succeed in the mobile first economy must create and execute sound mobile strategies. M-commerce is growing rapidly, with eMarketer  estimating sales will grow from $38 billion in 2013 to up to $87 billion in 2016.

Which retailers have impressive mobile strategies?

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