Retail locations quickly adapting to mcommerce

Retail locations quickly adapting to mcommerce

Mobile commerce is quickly becoming popular around the world, as consumers leverage their smartphones to complete transactions, interact with businesses and participate in marketing promotions. According to a recent study by the IHL Group, 54 percent of responding retail stores plan on using mobile coupons as a way to reach consumers within the next year. Electronic coupon campaigns will likely be installed as both a marketing tool and a point-of-sale feature.

According to the report, mcommerce is growing as a method of communication between consumers and service providers, as businesses use social media, applications and other mobile device features to reach customers in unique ways. Sean Alexander, technology analyst at the IHL Group, said mobile technology is being deployed as a way to build customer profiles and create loyalty programs. This is helping stores build a clear image of their customer demographic, improving loyalty and helping retail locations target audiences with relevant advertisements.

Much of mcommerce's sudden success can be traced to growing consumer smartphone use. According to the study, both Apple iPhones and Android-based devices could double their shipping output over the next year, as the vast majority of mobile customers surveyed favor the two products. Overall, smartphone use is expected to grow rapidly.

The study indicates 97 percent of mobile phone users have sent text messages, while 79 percent send or receive email on their mobile devices. Alexander explained that smartphone use is not only expected to continue its expansion in consumer markets, but current users are not likely to turn back to standard devices.

"2011 is poised to be a huge year in the advancement of retail. iPhones, iPads and Android devices have all moved past the stage of being cool and into the mainstream. While many industry estimates peg current smartphone adoption at just 25 percent of the total cell phone market, we found that only 1 percent of current smartphone users would consider a standard cell phone going forward," Anderson said.

In response to the prevalence of smartphones and the new mcommerce market, retail stores are developing a number of new strategies to reach the mobile shopper. The study indicates retailers need to engage with social media, text message coupons and store-locating tools to reach mcommerce users. Currently, 43 percent of retailers are using social media integration, while 29 percent plan to implement new social programs by the end of the year.