RETAIL FUNDAMENTALS FOR MOBILE-SOCIAL COMMERCE
Retailers have always observed people in their stores to gain insight into how to create a better shopping experience. Where does the customer go upon entry? Can she find the right aisle? Does she read product information or does she grab-and-go? These insights were critical to “winning the customer at shelf” – for both retailers and brands alike.
But while these insights are still relevant today, they don’t provide nearly enough value - or context - to truly bond with today’s socially-connected, location-aware shopper.
Whether it’s for electronics or egg whites, power has completely shifted to the consumer.
Industry wonks have playfully labeled this trend MoSoLoCo. That is, the effects of mobile devices, social media, and location-awareness on all forms ofcommerce. It’s driven by three things:
- Smarter, faster technology (mobile devices)
- Access to information and trustworthy opinions about anything (social media)
- More relevant contexts (location-aware)
Commerce is mobile (mCommerce)
The ability to initiate or complete transactions via mobile is still in its infancy, but usage is already widespread. Oracle reports that 48 percent of consumers research and browse products and services from their handheld. And comScore says 38 percent have used their smartphone to make a purchase at least once.
When consumers are able to learn about, find, compare, buy, and review products and services without breaking a sweat-and when they’re able to perform these actions from any location, at any time, that creates challenges for brands and retailers.
For example, The New York Times recently characterized Best Buy as a “showroom” for Amazon. And Target, incensed by mobile-social research in their stores, sent a stern message to suppliers:
“What we aren’t willing to do is let online-only retailers use our brick-and-mortar stores as a showroom for their products and undercut our prices without making investments, as we do, to proudly display your brands.”
Adding fuel to the fire is eBay, who created TV ads that embrace showrooming as a way to drive their own business: