mRetailers: Gear up for the upcoming holiday shopping season, now!

16 11 2012

This holiday shopping season, retailers offering mobile apps have made a smart move. While nearly 86 million US consumers are already using smartphones to shop, this holiday season is set to see even higher numbers from mCommerce. From special QR codes to price matching via smartphones, retailers will rely on the latest technologies to deliver discounts right into the hands of shoppers. And while smartphones has been the only device most consumers carried in the past, they’re now armed with tablets that can provide an even more engaging shopping experience. As retailers offer apps that mimic flipping through physical mail-order catalogs and one-click purchasing options through merchants like PayPal and Google, the tablet is set to be the ultimate experience in holiday shopping this season.

Eighty-two percent of tech-savvy mobile application users say there are major benefits to shopping on smartphones and tablets, according to new data issued by app technology provider Apigee. Bargain hunting reigns supreme: Half of respondents cite browsing for deals wherever they are among m-commerce’s biggest advantages, 48 percent name in-store pricing comparison opportunities, 38 percent point to opportunities to redeem digital coupons, and 27 percent cite the potential to earn in-app loyalty points.

Mobile coupons and discount codes will continue to play a role in consumerism, especially around this time, when the cost of gifting can add up. Many retailers are planning to increase the number of deals, especially those through mobile coupons. And while consumers are expected to take their time to find the best possible price for the holiday wish list items, most savvy holiday shoppers will consult their smartphones for price-comparisons and the latest deals, wherever they may be.

So, as a retailer who has extended its brand to the mobile channel, is your app or mobile website ready to handle the increase in traffic this holiday season? Keep in mind that one bug, glitch, crash or performance issue can immediately drive customers to shop at competing outlets. For mobile retailers, I suggest gearing up your mobile apps and websites for the upcoming holiday season NOW before it’s too late!


Shoppers Get Savvy With Apps

20 12 2011

Retailers are optimizing their mobile apps this holiday season because shoppers are armed with more than just a wallet and their lists.

Until recently, smartphones didn’t do much but help shoppers find a store location or take a picture of an item to share with someone for their purchasing input. Apps that were able to check inventory or compare prices were few and far between.

As the pressure on brick-and-mortar stores to compete with online retailers increase, physical retailers have ramped up the functionalities of their apps to do more than just provide location and hours. However, according to marketing firm Acquity Group, only 25 percent of major retail chains offer their own mobile apps and just over 37 percent have a mobile website. Has this trend of consumers utilizing mobile apps to shop, compare prices, and purchase products thrown retailers off guard? For the first time in history, smart devices have become most people’s primary computer. Not desktops or laptops, but the devices in our pockets. It isn’t a fad; it’s here to stay.

Experian’s PriceGrabber issued results of its third winter shopping holiday survey which uncovers retail app trends. According to the survey:

  • 39 percent of consumers have shopping-related apps on their smartphones
  • 42 percent said they plan to download new shopping apps on their phones
  • 65 percent said they will download coupon apps
  • 62 percent will download price check apps with the ability to scan barcodes
  • 38 percent use shopping apps to enhance the experience of shopping in physical stores

Some of Keynote DeviceAnywhere’s customers have upped the ante this year by appealing to mobile shoppers., one of the world’s largest online retailers, said they will provide a five percent discount to shoppers if they use Amazon’s Price Check app from a physical store. eBay’s RedLaser and Google Shopper also offer apps that allow consumers to find pricing information online while shopping in physical stores.

Brick-and-mortars retailers will undoubtedly get creative to underscore advantages of shopping at the physical store. What does this mean for mobile shopping apps during holiday season 2012? GPS functionality that provide locations of sales clerks and products that consumers have tagged? Self-checkout via mobile devices? Scanning items and having them delivered directly to your car in the lot? There is limitless potential for retailers, whether physical or online, as long as their apps are optimized, bug-free and functional. Needless to say, the way for them to secure and grow their customer base is through mobile.

Retailers and all other organizations must extend their businesses and brands to the mobile channel or they’ll be left in the dust. Though Black Friday is over, I’m optimistic consumer holiday shopping will continue through January with last-minute incentives and price drops in the coming weeks. Retailers still have time to ramp up their mobile offerings to grab a piece of this mobile revenue pie.

As 2011 holiday shopping soars online, read about how mobile is redefining retail commerce in The Keynote Benchmark. Happy savvy shopping!