Today, we’ve got a roundup of the latest global mobile news, insights and trends to keep you up-to-date on who’s winning in m-commerce. Mobile is growing at double the rate of e-commerce and traditional e-commerce leaders are falling behind more savvy m-commerce innovators according to a report in Internet Retailer.
A Hitwise research study shows more than 56% of top retail store searches now happen on mobile. Higher instore sales and e-commerce growth supported by a new mobile app helped Walmart get a strong earnings report for Q2 2016. Canadian shoe retailer Aldo launched a new high-tech flagship store loaded with digital and mobile enhancements in the new World Trade Center complex in New York.
Our roundup of mobile commerce news wouldn’t be complete without including a look at Pokemon Go and its impact on retail. In the UK, Weve and Eagle Eye Solutions introduced ‘smart scanner’ mobile coupons which let consumers receive and redeem coupons in real-time instore. CVS is using digital and mobile applications to solve customer problems and enhance shopping. Digital quality and testing firm Applause analyzed more than 1.2 million ratings and reviews and found flash sales sites like Groupon and Rue La La are still working well.
Leading fast food restaurants (QSRs) are seeing strong results from mobile order-ahead services which will reach $38 billion or 10.7% of total sales by 2020. The National Retail Federation expects back-to-school shopping sales to hit $78.5 billion and sees a big role by discount savings mobile apps like RetailMeNot. American Apparel is using an artificial intelligence and Internet of Things solutions in real-world displays that interact with shoppers’ mobile phones to start a purchase cycle with a chatbot. Rack Room Shoes launched a new mobile app to boost loyalty and customer engagement. Finally, Wharton research shows retailers testing many strategies but highlights the key role of mobile in omnichannel retail strategies.
Mobile is changing the fortunes of e-commerce leaders
With mobile commerce growing at a rate more than double the growth of total e-commerce, the future of e-commerce appears to be a mobile one.
In the U.S., which invented e-retailing based on desktop devices, two-thirds of the time spent by consumers shopping online is now spent on smartphones and tablets, while 38% of 2016 online retail sales are projected to come via mobile devices, according to Forrester Research Inc., up from less than 10% just a few years ago.
This shift to mobile-based e-commerce from desktop is lifting the prospects of some leading web merchants and depressing them for others. This competitive challenge to the e-commerce elite can be seen by comparing the world’s 25 largest e-commerce competitors, as ranked by Internet Retailer’s recently released Global 1000 Database, to the world’s 25 largest mobile commerce competitors, which are ranked in IR’s 2017 Mobile 500, published earlier this month.
These rankings show that some of the world’s largest e-commerce players are losing ground in the faster-growing mobile commerce field. In fact, 10 of the top 25 global e-commerce companies do not appear among the 25 largest mobile commerce operators, having been replaced on that list by rivals that do not rank among the 25 largest online retailers in the Global 1000. Via internetretailer.com
56 Percent of Top Retail Searches Now Come from Mobile, Report
If you’re trying to reach retail customers, mobile marketing had better be part of your strategy. That’s according to a new study by Hitwise, an eCommerce and consumer analytics company.
The study found that 56 percent of visitors to the Hitwise Retail 500, a collection of the top 500 retail websites now come from smartphones or tablets. Here are some other highlights of the company’s “Mobile Search: Topics and Themes” Report:
Mobile Retail Search Trends
72% of Visits to Food and Beverage Sites Come From Mobile
According to the study, a whopping 72% of online searches that result in a visit to a food and beverage site come from mobile devices. The health industry comes a close second, with 68% of searches being generated on mobile devices. Surprisingly, entertainment (42%) and banking (39%) were among industries that found desktop searches beating mobile searches. Via smallbiztrends.com
Walmart Has Reignited Its E-Commerce Growth
A bigger online assortment and a mobile app are giving the retailer a big boost. Of all the items in Walmart’s generally upbeat second-quarter results numbers, nothing must have come as a relief to company executives as much as the online sales growth figure.
The retailer said on Thursday that online sales rose 11.8% in the quarter ended July 31, with the U.S. results outperforming other markets. In so doing, Walmart broke nine quarters of slowing growth online and buoyed hopes that it is better equipped to compete with Amazon.com. AMZN 0.39% . (Walmart’s digital sales were $14 billion last year, or about one-sixth those of Amazon’s.)
Broadly speaking, the strong online performance was the result of years and billions of dollars in investment Walmart has made to bolster its digital offerings. Everything from the roll-out of its Walmart Pay mobile app, to expanding its free grocery pickup service for orders placed on-line to launching an Amazon Prime-like subscription service. Via fortune.com
Aldo introduces tech-focused retail concept to NYC
Canadian shoe and accessories brand Aldo is digitally enhancing its customers’ in-store experience, unveiling a new connected store concept in New York’s just opened Westfield World Trade Center Mall this week.
The new Aldo store fuses ecommerce with in-store shopping, removing barriers along the path to purchase by quickly providing shoppers with more and different kinds of product information directly to their mobile device.
As shoppers enter the store they receive a notification to launch the Aldo app on their iPhones (or Android devices in 2017). Once launched, consumers get access to product images and descriptions and can scan products for more information, for example. The app includes social media sharing functions and a “wish list” feature that lets users easily locate styles in store or redirect them to other options. Via marketingmag.ca
How Pokémon Go Will Change Mobile Advertising
Data and scale make Pokémon Go a unique and interesting piece of IP from a mobile marketer’s perspective. Take the game’s tens of millions of players, layer in their location data, add in the ability to drive them to specific, real-world places, and you have a potential gold mine for retailers.
Smaller businesses such as street vendors, restaurants and even libraries have already been indirectly capitalizing on the increased traffic from being near Pokéstops — but imagine the traffic that an in-game mission to collect a rare and powerful Pokémon could drive to Starbucks or Target. Brands such as Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UJF have already deployed campaigns like this in Ingress, the original location-based game that Pokémon Go is built on, and now Nintendo has confirmed a branding partnership with McDonald’s in Japan. Via entrepreneur.com
Weve launches smart mobile coupons with Eagle Eye Solutions
Mobile marketing and commerce provider Weve has partnered with real-time digital promotions software company Eagle-Eye Solutions to launch ‘smart scanner’ mobile coupons with nationwide campaigns from shopper media agency Capture’s brands including McCain Roasts.
The coupons allow customers to redeem offers straight from their smartphone without the need to print a paper version. It also means that advertisers can track redemptions in real-time and provide more personalised and relevant offers to customers.
The coupons system was developed by Weve in partnership with SaaS software company Eagle Eye Solutions, which specialises in the real-time validation and redemption of digital promotions. Weve simply sends a text message to customers, on behalf of the advertiser, with details of the offer and a link to the coupon. Once customers click on the link, they are taken to a barcode, generated by Eagle Eye, to scan at the checkout directly from their mobile, to redeem the coupon immediately. Via retailtimes.co.uk
CVS eases customers’ pain points through use of mobile, omnichannel
An executive from CVS at eTail East 2016 stressed the importance of evaluating and alleviating customer problems, reaching customers where they are and focusing on innovation to create a useful omnichannel experience through mobile and digital.
During the session, How CVS Health is Creating a Connected Health Experience for its Customers, the executive walked through major innovations the pharmacy chain has taken with the customer in mind, such as its digital receipts, mobile payments and bundle subscription service. CVS is known as a leader in innovation for retail and keeps this title by really focusing on what is right for the customer instead of the next cool thing.
“What we are really trying to do with digital is orchestrate it around our customer, who we have named Beth,” said Brian Tilzer, chief digital officer at CVS Health. “We are trying to make it so that Beth can access and benefit from all these healthcare services in a way that is really convenient, and ultimately allows her to save time and money.” Via mobilecommercedaily.com
How flash sales sites are winning retail’s mobile app wars
Make no mistake: Flash sales are by no means the phenomenon they were just a few years ago, when sites like Groupon, LivingSocial, Gilt Groupe and Zulily dazzled investors and helped lead retail out of its Great Recession-era malaise. But there’s still a place for the flash model—especially on mobile.
In fact, Groupon does mobile better than any other retailer, at least according to the results of a new survey conducted by digital quality and testing firm Applause and published under its Application Resources Center (ARC) aegis. After analyzing more than 1.2 million mobile retailer app star ratings and consumer reviews across Apple’s App Store and the Google Play storefront, ARC determined that Groupon has racked up an industry-high user sentiment score of 83 points out of 100. Furniture flash sales site One Kings Lane, which was acquired in June by Bed Bath & Beyond, follows in second at 82 points. Still another flash sales merchant, Rue La La, rounds out the top five at 77.6 points. Via retaildive.com
Taco Bell, Starbucks Use Mobile To Boost Order Values
Mobile order-ahead refers to a consumer-facing mobile payment platform that allows customers to order food remotely, pay for the items on their phone, and pick up their order at a specific restaurant location.
Leading QSRs in the US are beginning to adopt these platforms at an accelerated pace and are benefiting from them. Taco Bell sees 30% higher average order values on mobile compared to in-store, and Starbucks’ Mobile Order & Pay already represents 10% of total transactions at high-volume stores, directly contributing to increased company sales.
Mobile order-ahead is still in its early days, but will be a $38 billion industry by 2020, accounting for 10.7% of total QSR industry sales. This will be driven by full adoption among the top QSRs in the US, the growth of mobile commerce, QSR adoption through aggregators like Grubhub, loyalty programs, higher average order values, and new buy buttons. Via businessinsider.com
Back to school shopping’s new twist: Retail apps with discounts
The back-to-school shopping season is on, and this year, families will be spending more than ever. According to the National Retail Federation K-12 and college spending will reach $75.8 billion dollars, up from last year’s $68 billion. According to the NRF, it’s the second biggest consumer spending season for retailers after the winter holidays.
Although families may be less worried about the economy than in the past, they are still looking for bargains. Jennifer Owens, editorial director of Working Mother told CNBC’s “On the Money” in an interview about several mobile apps to discover discounts.
One of her favorites is RetailMeNot. Users can check the app for discounts for their favorite stores, and then apply those coupon codes to their shopping cart. Owens adds you can save coupons for later use and sign up for alerts on deals from your chosen stores. Via cnbc.com
American Apparel blends AI, IoT with beacon-enabled digital displays
An executive from American Apparel at eTail East 2016 detailed how the brand is using an artificial intelligence and Internet of Things solution in which real-world displays interact with shoppers’ phones to start a purchase-enabled thread with a chatbot.
During the session, The Future Of Retail and the Convergence of Customer Centricity, IoT and Omnichannel, the executive also explained that American Apparel wanted to expand its mobile footprint but without having to immediately make an application, so it partnered with Postmates to introduce a delivery service that saw significant early adoption. The retailer’s digital displays are leveraging beacon technology and chatbots to make it easier on customers to instantly purchase and find information about products featured in display ads in an attempt to expand its mobile reach.
“I am a firm believe that native apps are being disrupted right now and they are being disruptive by chatbots,” said Thoryn Stephens, chief digital officer at American Apparel. “We were actually already on that path before Zuckerberg and Facebook really made that push. Via mobilecommercedaily.com
Rack Room Launches Mobile App
Just in time for the back-to-school rush, family-footwear retailer Rack Room Shoes has launched a new mobile app in a bid to boost loyalty and customer engagement.
“Our core customer is short on time — she values easy and efficient shopping solutions,” said Rack Room Shoes president and CEO Mark Lardie. “The app allows her to purchase trend-right shoes for her family, now with more convenience than ever.”
The Charlotte, N.C.-based retailer said the launch of the app — intended to unite its online and offline shopping experiences — is part of a larger effort to boost its omnichannel strategy. Via footwearnews.com
Rethinking Retail: When Location Is a Liability
For the retail industry, store location has always been key. But in a mobile-first world where transactions are borderless, location can become a liability. These digital tectonic shifts affect every industry, but arguably none feel their impact more than retail. Digital natives such as Google, Facebook, Amazon and Alibaba are all impacting the wellbeing of every part of the retail supply chain. The result: No company will be left unscathed — including the once indomitable Wal-Mart.
So far, responses to these digital competitors has been varied. According to Lampert, they included the following: Mergers (Office Depot/Office Max/Staples, Walgreens/Rite Aid), joint ventures (CVS/Target Pharmacy), market exits (Target Canada, Tesco’s Fresh and Easy), company divestitures (Safeway, Saks), bankruptcies (RadioShack, Wet Seal, American Apparel, Sports Authority), unique leasing arrangements (Finish Line/Macy’s, Best Buy/Macy’s, Sephora/J.C. Penney) and asset spinoffs (Sears stores).
Each of these strategies is an attempt to mitigate the impact of this tidal wave of digital platforms and virtual networks. However, it is increasingly clear that the digital tsunami will not be overcome with ‘physical only’ tactics. Moreover, physical and financial strategies only highlight how ‘sticking to the knitting’ is a sure road to the bottom as evidenced by continued lackluster traditional (non-e commerce) retail sales growth. Via knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu
M-commerce keeps rolling
That’s the latest news and innovations in mobile commerce. Watch for upcoming reports on mobile payments trends as well as updates on China and Latin American e-commerce. And if you found this roundup useful, subscribe at the top of the page for free news reports every M-W-F morning in your inbox.