As consumers increasingly use all channels available to them to interact with the brands and merchants they are interested in, retailers are focusing on ways to provide a seamless omnichannel shopping experience, with mobile often playing a starring role.
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Walmart continues to take a proactive stance in mobile and is reportedly testing a mobile service enabling shoppers to scan items in store aisles with an iPhone before heading to a self-checkout kiosk to pay.
German hypermarket chain Real has introduced a new mobile coupon program that lets in-store shoppers scan products with their mobile phones to instantly receive coupons that can be redeemed at checkout.
Mobile is transforming in-store shopping by enabling consumers to use their handsets to compare prices. However, showrooming is just one small part of how mobile will impact in-store shopping, with apps, coupons and push notifications increasingly being used to drive foot traffic.
Walmart is teaming up with mobile game phenomenon Angry Birds for an integrated marketing strategy that encourages in-store shoppers and the retailer’s Facebook fans to search for clues that unlock bonus levels in the new Angry Birds Space game.
In what likely means a major step forward for its mobile strategy, Best Buy has hired Stephen Gillett, an instrumental force in Starbucks’ mobile successes over the past couple of years, to further the retailer’s position in the mcommerce space.
Groupon has acquired social shopping site Mertado.com, which lets consumers find and buy products through social networks, including Facebook.
This could be a mobile-tastic year for eBay, with the company predicting it will do $8 billion in mobile gross merchandise volume and $7 billion in mobile total payment volume in 2012.
Walmart has acquired mobile app developer Small Society in a move that signals both the growing importance of mobile applications in the retail space and retailers’ desire to control as much of the mobile experience as possible.
As the finish line for the 2011 holiday season comes into focus, promotional activity is heating up with big digital brands such as Amazon, Groupon and eBay trying to drive uptake of their services – which all have significant mobile components – via special offers.