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Mobile commerce entering new phase: Digby CEOBy
BALTIMORE – Having shepherded retailers such as Toys ‘R’ Us, 1800flowers.com, Godiva, Golfsmith and Northern Tool on mobile, Digby CEO Dave Sikora is secure enough to pronounce that mobile commerce has entered a new stage.
In a Q&A yesterday with Mobile Commerce Daily’s Mickey Alam Khan at the eTail East show, Mr. Sikora outlined the progression of retailer acceptance of mobile commerce as well as some of the opportunities and stumbling blocks.
“Retailers view mobile not just as an additional channel to sell product but as a way to unify merchandising and engagement opportunities across all of the channels,” Mr. Sikora said.
Based in Austin, TX, Digby also counts Babies ‘R’ Us, Lilly Pulitzer and Research In Motion as clients. Here is the interview with Mr. Sikora:
What sense do you get about mobile commerce based on the discussions with retailers over the summer?
We’re just now beyond the early-adopter phase and retailers are beginning to look strategically at the mobile opportunity.
In the first phase, many companies reflexively extended their Web site to be consumed on a mobile device but are now realizing that mobile can help them engage in many ways that aren’t available on the Web site.
The second phase – now retailers are looking at ways to engage their customers across all of their channels and coming up with ways to interact with customers that are unique to their own business.
How do retailers view mobile – as a branding channel, a marketing channel or a retail channel?
Retailers view mobile not just as an additional channel to sell product but as a way to unify merchandising and engagement opportunities across all of the channels.
Which retail categories are taking mobile seriously?
I think the highly transactional categories that have a frequency component as well as the luxury-oriented categories where their target demographic is closely aligned with their product strategy.
In that case, those customers are all smartphone-enabled. They all have mobile Web access and the ability to use downloadable applications.
What will it take to get retailers to take mobile more seriously?
As connected handheld adoption accelerates, consumers will seek to accomplish more and more things from these devices that they carry with them 7/24.
This will put increasing pressure on retailers to respond by delivering engaging experiences to their customers.
Also, one of the inhibitors has been limited and reliable networks and this will change along with the increasing power of the handheld device which will continue to accelerate mobile adoption.
What’s one of the biggest challenges that retailers face today?
Managing the fragmentation of the device handset market and delivering really powerful user experiences across all these platforms.
Arguably, for the next three years, there will be an epic battle between iPhone, Android and BlackBerry, and retailers will be faced with many customers who have adopted all three of those platforms.
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