Should Mobile Retailing Be Your Next Focus?

Do you have a smartphone? With over 11.1 million smartphone users in the UK – and the market growing rapidly – the chances are that if you don’t, you soon will.  In fact, there are more smartphone users in the UK than in any other European country, with smartphone penetration standing at 22.6% and 3G penetration at an equally impressive 41.7%.

But on the face of it, this rapid uptake of smart mobile devices seems to have passed by marketing and communications teams, with research from eMarketer suggesting that, despite using SEO and social media, four out of five US multichannel retailers aren’t using any form of mobile commerce or advertising.

mobile ecommerce

Are retailers foolish to be ignoring the mobile channel? Are they missing out on substantial potential revenues?

Well, possibly not. Further research from ATG shows that 87% of US internet users have never purchased a product on a mobile device, and 79% have never used a mobile device for product research.

However, 19% of US internet users do use a mobile device for product research at least monthly (though only 6% use it for purchases that frequently).

The signs are that the mobile industry is starting to take note of the increase in smartphone usage and the possibilities this offers the marketer. Apple for example recently announced a new ad platform for iPhone developers and publishers called iAd, giving brands the opportunity to target mobile users on the popular device.

But the truth of the matter is that mobile is still an emerging channel. It’s growing quickly with products like the iPhone bringing substantial power to the fingertips of mobile consumers, but retailers need to think carefully about how to use the mobile channel most effectively with their ecommerce solutions.

Indeed, they will need to spend a great deal of time working out how consumers themselves will use this channel to work out how best to meet this growing demand.

Is this going to be a channel that consumers use to actually purchase products, or is it more about browsing and/or sharing? If the latter, what is the best way to engage with these mobile users?

As yet, there are no definite answers, but as we all become increasingly mobile, it’s certainly not something that should be ignored.