This week, the Complete Savings team is looking at mCommerce trends and how the high street must embrace mobile and social commerce in order to thrive.
the growth of mCommerce
Both at home and in the office, the way in which we access information on the internet is drastically changing. By 2014, mobile internet usage is expected to outstrip desktop usage. This development is having a profound impact on the retail industry. If high street retailers are not able to adapt quickly enough to these trends, then they are putting themselves at risk of losing business.
A recent survey undertaken by PricewaterhouseCoopers reveals that Brittish retailers closed an average of 20 stores per day between February 2012 and February 2013. However, the recent NetSuite Retail & WD Trends Report, which surveyed 200 UK High Street retail managers, paints a slightly different picture.
Their research highlights the fact that nearly 90% of retail managers surveyed are feeling positive about their growth prospects, acknowledging new growth opportunities in the coming year through social media and mCommerce. With retailers expecting to see mCommerce grow at a rate of 23% in 2013, it is becoming increasingly apparent that retailers must act quickly to capitalise on this opportunity.
Whilst many retailers are now developing an eCommerce strategy which incorporates mobile and social commerce, three key challenges have emerged:
1) integration management
The first issue, integration, arises from the rapid transition into eCommerce. The majority of the companies in question were typically running their back-end operations on legacy systems. As a result, in the rush, retailers have been forced to ‘bolt on’ disconnected solutions. This has meant having separate applications for each retail channel, including eCommerce and telesales, leading to an inevitable waste of time and resources re-entering data into multiple systems. Retailers now recognise that system integration is the key.
Delivering a compelling and personalised online customer experience can be expensive. However, as customers increasingly choose to shop via mobile devices, it is vital that businesses invest in providing customers with a strong and competitive mCommerce offering.
To overcome these issues, retailers need to implement a central system to manage all customer and business transactions, be that through a website, smart phone, social media site or in-store. For many retailers, getting their house in order will be essential to effectively launching a new retail channel.
The NetSuite research also suggests that many retailers are worried that their IT systems are too complicated, expensive and inflexible. However, deploying a cloud based multichannel commerce solution will enable retailers to manage their interactions with other businesses and consumers via any current device, with the ability to scale to their need.
By staying ahead of the trend and recognising the power of mobile selling, retailers will be able to increase margins, strengthen their customer base and finally begin to emerge from the recession.