Friday, June 1, 2012

The Real Truth About Mobile and Retail (infographic)

Mark Fidelman, Contributor
The good news is that retailers are creating mobile apps. The bad news is that their customers dislike them.
So one has to ask: “Why are retailers so bad at mobile?”
It’s actually very simple. A clear, profit winning model has yet to emerge because the industry is in experimentation mode. Foursquare had the best opportunity to create a success formula for retail, but I’ve been underwhelmed by their strategy. Fatigue has set in for their product and that doesn’t fare well in a fast paced, competitive industry. 
So does anyone do it well? Starbucks is off to a good start, but not many retailers can replicate their loyalty card meets payment refill model because of the expense of setting it up.  Amazon of course is being accused of stealing sales from retailers, but they’re only able to because: one, retailers are not creating engaging apps of their own. Two, they’ve made purchasing items extremely easy over mobile devices.  
To better understand how other top retailers have responded to the mobile challenge, global IT and business solution providerCognizant, analyzed the offerings (Mobile Web and iPhone/Android apps) of players featured in the list of Top 100 Retailers.
And there is an important message for retailers in this analysis.  Though retailers offer a slew of useful features, mobile offerings are not meeting customer expectations. That’s bad news for retailers that are spending money, time and resources in response to the incredible growth in consumer mobile devices. That’s bad news if you’re losing sales to Amazon.
To be sure, there are tremendous opportunities to engage and profit from mobile customers. I’ll cover this in the future. For now, there are three things I recommend retailers do to take advantage of  mobile.
  1. Create customer loyalty through smart, innovated apps that produce value for the customer. You can then later push out promotional notifications.
  2. Make it easy to research and purchase your retail items in-store and out.
  3. Your website must be optimized for mobile use. This is not an option.
I recognize that I’ve only touched the surface of what needs to be done, but have a look at the Cognizant infographic. I think you’ll agree; retailers have a long way to go.