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Are retailers training consumers to shop on mobile?

July 15, 2011

With the proliferation of mobile-optimized sites and applications, more retailers are using mobile to their advantage to not only drive consumers in-store, but also get them to gradually start making purchases via their device.

Retailers are increasingly rolling out mobile sites and applications to stay on top of their tech-savvy consumers.

Customers always have their smartphone on them and are beginning to make purchases via their device as opposed to being chained down to a PC.

“Retailers are clearly embracing mobile as a powerful sales channel that can deliver impactful results to their bottom lines, and this is largely because digital-savvy consumers are becoming increasingly comfortable browsing and purchasing items on their mobile devices,” said Nick Taylor, CEO of Usablenet, New York.

“As the number of retailers that offer core services to consumers via mobile continues to increase, mobile purchases will continue to experience rapid growth,” he said.

Rise of mobile
Whether it’s a holiday season or a specific marketing campaign, retailers sare using some aspect of mobile.

Many brands are using mobile ads to drive consumers to their mobile sites.

For example, Target recently debuted a new mobile campaign that not only highlights key supplies students need when they go back to school, but also lets them buy products straight from their devices.

Consumers are no longer spending their days stuck to their PC and searching for products there.

Nowadays, customers are becoming more tech-savvy and are beginning to heavily rely on their mobile device – it is always with them.

Retailers are seeing this trend and are catering to their on-the-go consumers.

“Brands are using mobile sites and apps as an essential part of their overall sales and marketing efforts, and this has led to strong consumer desire to use their smartphones during the shopping experience,” Mr. Taylor said.

“We expect the trend of consumers shopping on mobile to continue, and as tablet devices gain more and more market share, shopping on these devices will become more popular as well,” he said.

Mobile purchases
Retailers are actively supporting the growing trend of consumers turning to their smartphones to search, browse, buy their products because it provides shoppers with anytime, anywhere access to the brand. 

Companines are seeing consumers shop via their mobile devices while they are at home, on the go and even in the retail store.

This effectively increases sales, brand awareness and customer loyalty. 

“To increase awareness of their mobile optimized site or apps, retailers are incorporating their mobile channel into their overall marketing strategy by putting callouts on their ecommerce site and Facebook pages, in their catalogs, on in-store signage, and in email and SMS campaigns, with many offering special offers and incentives for those who download the app or order from the mobile site,” said Dan Lowden, vice president of marketing at Digby, Austin, TX.

“With predictions placing a smartphone in one out of every two American’s hands by the end of 2011, retailers are seeing a dramatic increase in traffic coming to their sites from mobile devices,” he said.

Retailers are realizing the demand for a mobile-optimized version of their Web site.

Nowadays it is a necessity, especially if they do not want to lose consumers to other brands that have a strategic mobile offering.

Brands that have implemented a mobile-optimized site and app are seeing an even further increase in traffic coming to their site from smartphones resulting in increased incremental revenue, sales, brand awareness and customer satisfaction and loyalty. 

“The best strategy for retailers to develop a loyal mobile following is to first enable a mobile optimized Web site and then a rich app,” Mr. Lowden said. “It is through the mobile Web that consumers will initially interact with a retailer from a mobile device.

“Mobile Web allows customers to benefit from a fast, easy-to-use interface for browsing, searching and buying while on the go,” he said. “The retailer can then engage and transform the customer from occasional visitor to loyal customer by having them download the app for faster, more frequent and higher value experiences whether they’re in the store or on the move.

“In doing so, the retailer can drive incremental sales, increase customer loyalty and learn more about consumers’ buying behavior to serve them better in the future.”

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Rimma Kats is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily and Mobile Marketer. Reach her at

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