Customers are increasingly shopping via mobile, using smartphone devices even when standing in a retail store. Future success entails incorporating this behaviour into your brand experience.
A recent study released in partnership between NetSuite and Australian Retailers Association, compiled research from Frost & Sullivan to demonstrate both the opportunity that mobile devices present as well as how few Australian retailers are actually taking advantage of it.
Mark Troselj, Managing Director of APAC and Japan for NetSuite, summed up the situation most succinctly in saying, “This won’t end in 2014. Mobile buyers won’t tolerate a watered-down experience any longer. It’s time to offer the mobile shopper the complete customer experience, from wish list management to returns.”
The true challenge for so many retailers is overcoming the trepidation that is understandably incurred when facing the need to upgrade systems at both the front and back-ends of their offering, but also in understanding enough about what’s required to select the correct technologies for generating returns that quickly justify the initial outlay.
The Answer Lies Before You
As far as NetSuite’s General Manager of Global Retail, Branden Jenkins is concerned, Australian retailers need only look around them to find a world of opportunities at their fingertips.
“Australian businesses have a greenfield opportunity here, with plenty of technologies available right now that can assist them in leapfrogging ahead of the competition,” he says. “Historically, many of these retailers have been a little late to the game insofar as multi- or omnichannel commerce is concerned, but that can actually be a competitive advantage for those willing to make the right moves.”
Jenkins’ point gets to the heart of the issue: if retailers have already accepted that multichannel or omnichannel commerce is the way forward, then that strategy must include acquiring systems that allow them to offer a great experience via mobile as well as in-store and online in general.
Even better; by selecting the right technologies, retailers will stand to gain the ability to present truly unique experiences via mobile for customers that are currently in their stores, and that is the ultimate goal for many of the smaller retail chains or independent, single store retailers that continue to struggle for visibility.
And this sentiment is highlighted by the Frost & Sullivan report, which shows that shoppers will use their mobiles in-store to discover if WiFi is available (68 percent of respondents), what stock levels are like (58 percent), find directions to various departments (57 percent), read customer reviews (50 percent), discover additional product information (48 percent) and even to make a purchase (43 percent).
Where to Now?
The fact is, consumer technologies continue to change apace and what we consider to be crucial for mobile shoppers now will no doubt change drastically in the years to come. But that isn’t a reason not to invest in upgrading your systems now.
The beauty of cloud-based platforms lies in their flexibility. While those storing their systems locally will require a team with IT expertise to make regular changes and updates, many cloud-based platforms make these updates automatically, and their providers can tailor them for their clients’ needs remotely as well. That means future-proofed systems.
However, the issue of retailer comprehension of these technologies and a broader understanding of the mobile opportunity is yet to be achieved. For all those mobile shoppers out there (65 percent of Australia’s population owns a smartphone), we can only hope this change in attitude and adoptions happens quickly.
To discover more about why mobile is becoming integral to the customer experience as well as how retailers can quickly begin meeting this demand, join us for our webinar on Tuesday, September 2nd at 1pm AEST.