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3 numbers that may change the way you see mobile retail

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At NRF, we know that mobile is far more than the future of e-commerce. It’s the future of just about everything.  

Ovum, a London-based tech research and advisory firm, recently projected that mobile-enabled sales would reach $2.05 billion by 2020. That’s up from $1.44 billion last year. The stats are part of a report called “The Future of E-commerce: The Road to 2026” that spoke of the smartphone becoming the platform that can support the whole shopping journey, from product search and discovery to comparisons, recommendations and payments. The report also mentioned contextual locations and the growing focus on hyperlocal commerce, and touched on wearables and mobile payments. 

Within 10 years, Ovum forecasts mobile will be the dominant advertising channel for most brands. In emerging markets, advertising will be a mobile-first experience.

Our own 2016 Retail Holiday Planning Playbook confirmed the growth of mobile in our industry, noting that mobile — including both phones and tablets — accounted for 30.4 percent of online sales during the most recent holiday season, up from 25.9 percent in 2014. Sales on smartphones rose from 14 percent in 2014 to 19.9 percent in 2015. 

In addition, for six days during the holiday shopping season — on weekends and as Christmas drew closer — traffic from smartphones surpassed that of desktops. The majority of search is now mobile, too: 56 percent of searches that resulted in a click to a top retail site during the season were conducted on either a smartphone or tablet.

Berry Pick: Fresh ideas in digital commerce

Point Inside’s StoreMode, winner of the 2016 Glomo Award for Best Use of Mobile for Retail, Brands and Commerce, focuses on answering two customer questions: “Do you have it?” and “Where can I find it?” For the shopper, that means digital shopping lists and interactive store maps, as well as relevant recommendations and deals nearby. For the store? Greater analysis of shopper behavior and store performance. Retailers including Target, Meijer and Lowe’s have already partnered up. According to Point Inside, shoppers using retail apps with StoreMode end up making 2.5 times more purchases. 

Retailers are already racing to keep up with evolving consumer behavior, and the pace of change isn’t going to slow down anytime soon.

The 2016 Accenture Adaptive Retail Consumer Research study showed that retailers are only scratching the surface when it comes to mobile services, finding that 48 percent of shoppers say it’s easier to make purchases via mobile this year, up from 42 percent the previous year. Opportunities to meet and exceed growing customer expectations include things like real-time in-store promotions, the ability to scan products in-store with their mobile devices and the ability to receive automatic credit for coupons and discounts via mobile.

At NRF, we keep an eye out for disruptors making mobile work. And we’ll be talking about a lot of them at the upcoming Shop.org Digital Experience Workshop in July and Retail’s Digital Summit in September.

Those who innovate, risk and take chances with mobile hold the future of retail in their hands. 

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