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Daily Dose of iQ: Major Retailers Optimize Mobile Channels to Drive Sales

Staples Walmart Sears mobile sites

"Brands must now be able to optimize mobile channels (using mobile sites and mobile apps) in a way that enables consumers to make purchases, track pricing and comparison shop whenever and wherever they wish in order to remain relevant," wrote Direct Marketing News' Juan Martinez (April 1).

Martinez points to the CEA's February 2012 M-Commerce Forecast numbers:

  • 90% of consumers own a tablet, smartphone or feature phone.
  • Of these consumers, 37% are engaging in some form of mobile commerce.
  • On average, consumers spent $642 on mobile purchases in the past 12 months ($124 billion overall).

He also breaks down a number of major retailers' mobile offerings:

  • Staples' mobile site is "optimized for research": It has a shopping cart that syncs in real time to a user's Staples.com car, a GPS powered store locator, store inventory look-up and enhanced on-site search, including an auto-suggest feature.
  • Walmart's iPhone app is uniquely versatile: It lets users add items to a shopping list by speaking, typing or scanning bar codes.
  • Sears aims to offer a continuous experience across channels: The company self describes as "agnostic" between its mobile site and mobile apps. Its goal: integrate online with mobile and physical stores.

These companies are no strangers to e-commerce and they're also aware of the threat of "showrooming," as facilitated by mobile phones. Their mobile strategies are bent on making the shopping experience as streamlined, accessible and convenient as possible -- regardless of the channel.

Forbes: Retailers see the appeal of location-based payments

"iTunes has become the envy of online retailers by creating a low-friction purchasing mechanism," wrote Jon Bruner of Forbes, yesterday (April 2).

Because iTunes allows you to make purchases through an logged-in account, without having to re-enter your credit card info, it removes the physical and mental barriers of the payment process, Bruner explains.

Again, it's the convenience of the iTunes payment process that retailers and payment processors are trying to emulate (See PayPal's Approach).

"Conventional merchants want in, and a new cohort of mobile payment services promises to reduce the friction in small purchases of everyday items like coffee and gas while layering on the sorts of sophisticated analytics that online merchants enjoy."

Date: 
April/03, 2012