Cashback News: Mobile commerce breaking through in US retail

mobile commerceWhile shopping by smartphone is common in China, it is only beginning to take hold in the US. Retailers are getting on board with mobile phone apps and there’s lots of innovation and news to share. US mobile commerce is growing fast and Astound Commerce expects it to reach 33% of online sales or $130.92 billion. According to L2 Intelligence Report – Mobile retailers are under-investing in mobile to date even though 85% of global smartphone owners have used a smartphone to shop inside a bricks-and-mortar store.

Mobile payments in China will reach $6.3 trillion by 2020, according to data from iResearch. Research from App Annie shows time spent on retailer bricks-and-clicks apps was up 55%. In Canada, RBC launched its new RBC Rewards app letting users browse, track and redeem points online for travel, merchandise and other incentives.

Crate and Barrel, Macy’s and Timberland are testing new mobile innovations to reach consumers in their omnichannels. According to comScore, 49% of consumers do not download mobile apps though Amazon, eBay, Groupon and Walmart are among the top 25 US retail apps. A strong mobile strategy is key for retailers. 19% of consumer spending is on groceries and Morgan Stanley Research and AlphaWise research says that presents an opportunity for grocery mobile apps.

Facebook users can now purchase products directly from brands with a single tap on the Messenger app. Dick’s digital strategy helped the sports retailer grow sales 6.7% to $7.3 billion in 2015. Mobile commerce is poised for growth this holiday season.

Mobile Is on the Rise, But Still Not Where Retailers Would Like It is one of the fastest-growing retail sectors at the moment and still projects to grow for years to come, but the technology is still not where most retailers want it.

Currently, smartphone users make up about 64 percent of the U.S. population, but that number is expected to grow to 72.2% by 2020, according to Astound Commerce’s 2016 Mobile Research Report. U.S. mobile commerce sales are rising “significantly” compared to overall eCommerce, according to Astound Commerce’s study.

Mobile commerce sales are forecast to reach 33% of all eCommerce sales in 2016, up from 26% the previous year — 2.7% of all retail sales for the year. That’s an estimated $130.92 billion in mobile sales this year. But that number is expected to double to 5.4% and 43% of all eCommerce and all retail transactions, respectively, by 2020 for an estimated $294.22 billion.

“The important factor to keep in mind is that they are now representing almost half of retail eCommerce’s penetration, which is impressive for a channel still in its infancy,” according to Astound Commerce’s report. Via

Mobile is Critical for In-Store Retail of recent reports suggest that retail brands are overwhelmingly under-investing in mobile. Is the problem as bad as some say? L2, a business-intelligence firm, seems to think so. In the company’s L2 Intelligence Report – Mobile, L2 emphasizes that the trend toward mobile has been exponentially on the rise—while lambasting retail brands lacking in in-store mobile engagement.

For starters, the report points out that mobile devices accounted for more than half of all time spent online in 2013—and that, as of last year, that amount has risen to two-thirds. “Smartphones have become the trusted, portable, always-on shopping companion that desktops or laptops never could be,” reports L2, “with 85 percent of smartphone owners worldwide saying they used a smartphone while shopping in a brick-and-mortar store.”

Still, L2 admits that there are signs that so-called “mcommerce” hasn’t quite caught on—conceding that traditional desktop devices drive far more conversions than do mobile devices. “Today, mobile phones are still best suited for upper-funnel shopping activities like comparison shopping, product research, and browsing and product discovery,” notes L2. The firm goes on to highlight that while consumers conduct 60 percent of their online-shopping time via mobile, mobile accounts for only 16 percent of these transactions. L2 maintains, however, that this represents a missed opportunity for brands to enmesh customers via mobile-based tools—including loyalty programs, streamlined checkout, payment options, and cross-channel integration with existing customer data (such as email addresses). Via

MOBILE PAYMENTS IN CHINA: Learn from China’s success in mobile payments US payments ecosystem is in the midst of a shift toward mobile, and countless new and old stakeholders are attempting to accelerate this migration, which is moving at a glacial pace relative to other markets globally. But mobile payments can rise to the mainstream. For companies seeking to build out a robust mobile payments product, China’s thriving mobile payments ecosystem offers some insight — and some lessons.

Total mobile payments volume in China will reach $6.3 trillion by 2020, according to our estimates based on iResearch data. This marks a healthy 33% five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR). In comparison, the US will generate $154 billion in mobile payments volume this year by our estimates, which amounts to just 6.5% of China’s mobile payments volume.

Even accounting for population discrepancies, China will generate over $1,700 in mobile payments volume per capita in 2016, compared with $475 in the US, based on forecasts from BI Intelligence and eMarketer. China’s advantage will eventually diminish, but it will still produce around twice as much volume per capita in 2020. Via

App Annie study shows US retail leads the way in mobile disruption years, the retail industry has talked about the rise of mobile and how it may disrupt everything. But according to a new report released today by App Annie — an app analytics and market intelligence company — the future is already here. Mobile, especially in the US, has already taken over.

Looking at both online-first and “bricks-and-clicks” retailers, the study shows that, while mobile is affecting everyone, the US is apparently leading the way.

“Most surprising is how well US bricks-and-clicks retailers are doing relative to others outside of the US,” Danielle Levitas, SVP of research and marketing communications at App Annie, told me. “Specifically, across the several countries we looked at in this report, time in apps of bricks-and-clicks was up 40% year over year (versus online-first, up 50%). However, in the U.S., time spent within bricks-and-clicks apps was up 55% versus online-first, up 60%. I think this demonstrates more innovation among top US retailers.” Via

RBC launches rewards app to let customers redeem points for various products Rewards is an app that allows RBC customers to view their points balance which are redeemable for a number of products. The app lets users collect points towards several products, including vacations, gadgets and merchandise.

“The RBC Rewards app will allow clients to experience and interact with RBC Rewards in a whole new way,” said Athena Varmazis, the vice president of the global loyalty program and rewards.

“With the RBC Rewards app, our clients will now have the functionality of the online Rewards platform, from tracking existing and pending points activity to browsing and redeeming for travel, merchandise and more while they’re on the go.” Via

Is Omnichannel Marketing Finally Going From Retail Dream to Reality?

macys-on-call-ibm-watsonThere’s been a flurry of recent developments that suggest retailers this holiday season may summon the nerve to reboot their omnichannel marketing efforts, tapping into Big Data tactics that in years past may have seemed more like Big Brother.

Crate and Barrel is testing a program, dubbed Mobile Totes, in its Skokie, IL, store in suburban Chicago that leans on several branded tablet devices. The endeavor, bolstered by CloudTags’ software, encourages patrons to use the tablets to email themselves products they want but are not available in the store. Yet, here’s the thing: When such emails are clicked, thanks to recipients’ cookie IDs, the merchant retargets people on its website with banner ads that pitch products they first showed interest in during a store visit. The home-decor merchant attributes a 10 percent sales hike to the 2-month-old pilot. But could this showroom-to-living-room data utilization inspire backlash instead of back orders?

“I don’t think customers will find it creepy,” answered Joan King, vp of ecommerce, Crate and Barrel. “More and more, people are actually expecting that we know their shopping preferences. They are expecting us to be smarter and smarter.” Recent studies show that consumers have generally acquiesced to data-based targeting, according to Joseph Turow, a professor and researcher at University of Pennsylvania. “Resignation rather than anger is the current predicament,” he noted. Via

With holiday 2016 approaching, retailers need a mobile wallet strategy ASAP retailers are gearing up for holiday sales, and that means many will be seeking to drive mobile app downloads. Most of them will fail.

Among the top 25 US apps, there are four retailers present: Amazon, eBay, Groupon and Walmart. By far, Amazon dominates time spent among retail apps, according to comScore.

Top retail apps
Roughly half of smartphone owners (49%) now don’t download any apps in a given month, while the average user downloads two, according to the same comScore report.

What this effectively means is that absent some really compelling features and functionality, most retailers have dimming hopes of driving widespread adoption of their apps. Frequent shoppers and loyalists may have specific retailer apps on their phones, but the majority of shoppers will not.

A Shoe Carnival-SIM Partners case study shows how a mobile wallet strategy can complement efforts to drive app downloads and even stand as a complete substitute for an app download. Via

How Supermarket Apps Profit With eCommerce account for 19% of consumer spending as noted from Morgan Stanley Research and AlphaWise. Looking at the US alone, the grocery industry estimates to a net worth of 675 billion USD! With this lucrative opportunity at hand, there’s no better way to drive this rapidly growing industry than with empowered supermarket apps. Given that 90% of digital time is spent in apps according to ComScore, by leveraging the mobile app opportunity, supermarket apps should offer exceptional mobile experiences to its consumers so that it drives brand awareness, sales and ideally brand advocacy.

However, the grocery industry still has much work to do. Let’s take a look at eCommerce first.

Types of Groceries People Buy Online
Taking a look at the chart below provided by Morgan Stanley. It shows what type of major eCommerce (or online commerce) transactions takes place. One sees that groceries is an auspicious venture considering its anticipated growth starting from 2016 onward. Fresh food takes the lead. It’s expected to be the fastest growing margin with 21% to 34% YoY. Via

Facebook lets users make purchases from brands directly through Messenger app the rise of chatbots providing a smooth way for customers to interact with their favorite brands, Facebook is taking things a step further by letting consumers open up a full window of products and shopping options, that are all purchasable directly through the app.

The social media giant will now let consumers who engage with brands through the Messenger app purchase products with the tap of a button. The new capability is brought about by a partnership with Shopify

“By making conversations between retailers and customers commerce-able, Shopify is enabling Facebook Messenger users to engage with retailers through a personal yet streamlined experience,” said Brian Marvin, COO and co-founder of Bringhub. “As chatbots and conversational commerce continue to grow, this is one of the first major partnerships to offer a new layer of service to retailers and consumers directly through a messaging platform. Via

Dick’s Digital Strategy is On the Move to its ability to thrive in an uncertain and shrinking market, the company racked up net sales of $7.3 billion in 2015, a 6.7% year-over-year increase. Achieving these goals took patience, planning and the development of a business strategy designed to future-proof the company within an increasingly digital marketplace.

Dick’s initial move toward a digitally driven strategy dates back several years, at a time when the sporting goods retailer was already well-entrenched in the e-commerce game. It was successfully operating an e-commerce site with the help of a third-party partner, and was enjoying strong e-commerce sales performance prompting Dick’s to double down on its digital efforts.

Its first move was to add a multi-tenant platform designed to support multiple e-commerce stores. The flexible architecture, added in 2014, also underscored the company’s plan for upcoming strategic projects.

Dick’s Sporting Goods launched two proprietary e-commerce sites on its own platform — and However, in an increasingly mobile landscape, e-commerce is only the tip of the iceberg. Via

More holiday sales reports ahead

We’ll have more US retail  holiday sales reports in the weeks ahead as we enter into the critical Black Friday and holiday sales season. Welcome to our many new subscribers and you can subscribe at the top of this page to get news you can use, first thing every Monday-Wednesday-Friday morning.