News Feature | June 2, 2014

Mobile Shopping Trends Upward, Drives Retail Industry Transformation

By Ally Orlando, contributing writer

Retail Mobile Shopping Rising

Mobile capabilities have changed the way consumers interact with stores and banks, and therefore will change the relationships between resellers and their retail customers.

A recent study conducted by the Interactive Media in Retail Group (IMRG) reports that one-third of all online sales were made using mobile devices between November 2013 and January 2014 — a figure the group believes will grow. The research, based on a quarterly benchmarking survey, was conducted in conjunction with Capgemini consulting firm.

According to IMRG, visits to e-commerce websites via mobile devices account for 45 percent of U.K. online traffic. Additionally, mobile commerce accounted for 32 percent of U.K. online sales in the fourth quarter of 2013 — an 18 percent increase from Q3 2013.

Overall, mobile and tablets now account for almost four in 10 visits to e-Commerce websites. Specifically, mobile commerce is strong in the U.K. apparel sector — 36 percent of its online sales and 51 percent of its website visits come from mobile devices.

“Consumer confidence in mobile continues to increase and improvements in mobile optimization and the user experience are certainly factors in this,” says Tina Spooner, chief officer of IMRG. “We expect this trend to continue throughout 2014, with visits set to surpass desktop usage over the coming months.”

Retailers and retail service providers can leverage digital, integrated technology to deliver multichannel experiences to the end user. For example, the research points out that commerce convergence and cross-chain collaboration could drive sales. With the convergence of multiple services, mobile commerce can change shopping experiences across all channels and give consumers a wider range of transaction options.

Ariel Bardin from Google and Paul Galant from VeriFone, keynote speakers at the TRANSACT 14 event hosted by the Electronic Transactions Association, shared their thoughts on the changes mobile will bring to the payments and retail industries in the future.

“In this new world of constant connectivity, mobile is blurring the lines between the online and offline worlds,” Bardin says. “People are growing to expect the ability to transact instantly using their smartphones — whether they're in cyberspace or (a) retail space.”

Underscoring the fact that payment technology is no longer limited to simply making payments, Bardin comments, “We've seen this first-hand with the partners who have integrated Google Wallet Instant Buy, which helps retailers make sign-in and purchasing on their mobile site and app as easy as a few taps. Many merchants are seeing significant increases in mobile traffic, sales, and repeat purchases just by making it easier to pay on their mobile properties.”

“Business models, technology, and consumer behaviors are changing,” Galant says. “Electronic payments, digital commerce, predictive analytics, and mobility are converging, along with contextual marketing, digital advertising, couponing, loyalty, and social media. The opportunities to enable magical new commerce experiences for consumers and more meaningful interactions between brands, merchants, and their customers are endless.”

However, Bardin cautions that the openness and connectivity of innovative POS technology — which he believes to be a requirement — should not compromise the safety of consumer information. Consumers are likely to fear that new technology may threaten their personal data, but manufacturers and resellers cannot let security concerns stand in the way of innovation.

“We all need to be educating our clients on understanding their risk exposure and on how to develop a more comprehensive approach to reducing their risk and their total cost of ownership,” he says.