BII REPORT: How Retailers Are Trying To Own Mobile Commerce


Shoppers carry mobile devices everywhere they go, and they’re already using their phones to redeem coupons, research products, and pay for things online and offline.

Practices such as “showrooming,” the process whereby smartphone consumers evade mark-ups by inspecting products in a store while searching on smartphones for better prices online, pose a big threat to brick-and-mortar retailers. Retail wars have ensued, and traditional retailers are trying to turn the mobile opportunity to their own advantage. 

In a recent report from BI Intelligence, we analyse the different ways retailers experimenting with mobile, look at the size of the mobile commerce opportunity in dollar terms, and examine how some of the top mobile commerce trends – including mobile payments, tablet commerce, and SoLoMo (social-local-mobile) marketing – are contributing to a big increase in mobile commerce. 

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Here are a few ways retailers are trying to own the mobile experience: 

  • First off, mobile commerce is big and growing bigger: 29% of U.S. mobile users already have used their smartphones to make a purchase. Bank of America predicts $67.1 billion in revenue from smartphone and tablet retail purchasing by European and U.S. shoppers in 2015. Many other statistics – such as YOY quadrupling in traffic from tablet visitors to retail websites – suggest a similarly huge wave of mobile commerce to come.
  • Location targeting and in-store mobile marketing: Whether online or offline, commerce has always struggled with two basic challenges: increasing consumer traffic and influencing shopping decisions just as the consumer’s about to buy. Mobile attacks these problems head-on. With location targeting, shoppers can be enticed into stores for items they’re in the market for. With in-store mobile marketing, an indecisive consumer can be nudged toward a specific brand or product. 
  • Gamification: In the retail context, this is essentially a new approach to digital loyalty marketing (usually via apps). Gamified apps keep users engaged by offering challenges and rewards for completed tasks — just as games do. These apps boost consumer engagement, and allow retailers to influence shopping decisions, while also producing a valuable trove of consumer data. 
  • SoLoMo, or “Social Local Mobile”:  Location-based services and social media have a very specific meaning for mobile commerce. That’s because mobile users tend to use their devices to complete intentions (Where can I buy a nice umbrella? Is there a cheap cofeeshop nearby?), rather than as an in-depth research tool. SoLoMo can be harnessed to increase foot traffic from these mobile users, but also to drive sales and engagement in the store. 

In full, BI Intelligence’s report on Mobile Commerce examines:

  • The opportunity in numbers: How big is the opportunity, how fast is mobile commerce growing, and what are the niches where mobile commerce has carved out a significant role
  • The emergence of mobile payments solutions as full-service shopping apps, not just transactional tools
  • The contribution of tablet consumers to the explosion in mobile commerce
  • The mobile marketing techniques, such as SoLoMo and gamiifcation, that can prove uniquely effective in solving traditional commerce challenges
  • The mobile commerce implications of rise of Pinterest and mobile native fashion apps

To access BI Intelligence’s full report on Mobile Commerce, sign up for a free trial subscription here.

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