Archive | January, 2013

Mobile Integration: Is it time?

28 Jan

mobile website two

Many retailers have been fighting a losing battle against consumers who have more access to information, primarily price, then ever before. Consumer behaviour has changed due to the advent on the smart phone. Consumers now visit major retailers, such as Future Shop, to see and test the product, only to due a quick search on their phone where they find a lower price, and order it from an online retailer.

Retailers have a choice, either to embrace the changes, or to try and fight them. Retailers, who fight mobile integration, choose to ignore the technology and pretend it does not exist. These retailers continue to operate on the basis that when a consumer enters a brick and mortar store, they intend to make a purchase and will make a purchase there. The belief is sales staff, store layout, and product choices can overcome any challenge presented by mobile technology. However, choosing to ignore mobile technology is a recipe for disaster.

However, some retailers have realised they cannot choose to ignore or fight mobile technology, they must embrace. A sale is a sale, no matter where it occurs, in store or online.  Price tags and displays are being integrated with scan able technology which consumers can scan with their smart phones and pull up product specs, price and other information. Retail giants such as Wal-Mart are adapting price policies to price match prices from any website a consumer to find. In theory it is a win-win at the retailer will retain the sale, and the consumer knows they are getting the lowest price.

mobile website

Some of the adaptation is relatively cheap, such as optimizing websites for mobile use, allowing consumers to view sites easier directly from their smart phones. Email marketing (where many consumers pull email directly from their phones) is also a fairly cheap source of marketing. However, other parts of the technology, such as the development of apps for specific stores, can run well into the millions of dollars with the need for constant updating.

Mobile marketing is a new technology that is here to stay. Retailers must accept the fact that mobile marketing is an essential part of their overall marketing plan and objectives, and must budget for it accordingly. With the nature of mobile technology, the investment may not even result in any definable return on investment, but may be a way for retailers to maintain market share. Retailer who decide to fight and resist mobile technology, and refuse to integrate, will be left behind quickly.