As Forrester analyst Sucharita Mulpuru told retailers during the 2009 Shop.org Annual Summit (and I’ll paraphrase here), “If you like social, you’re going to love mobile.” In the scant year since, retailers have done exactly that, rallying to iPhone apps, iPad apps, much improved mobile sites, and anything else “mobile” to capture the attention and wallet share of the fickle shopper.
Given its relative newness, though, how much of a difference is mobile actually making this holiday season?
When we asked retailers in the 2010 eHoliday pre-holiday survey (conducted in partnership with BIGresearch) what they had invested in most significantly this year to prepare for the holidays, over one quarter specifically cited mobile commerce applications.
A smart move, it turns out, as consumers are increasingly using mobile devices as part of their shopping research and purchasing experience. While 38.5% of consumers stated they don’t have a smartphone, over a quarter of consumers said they definitely planned to use their smartphone to research or make holiday purchases.
To top it off, consumers also told us that mobile phones play an increasingly important role for major holiday shopping events such as Cyber Monday, when 6.9% of consumers planned to use their mobile device to shop. If that percentage looks small, consider that it translates into over seven million individuals in the US, and that these numbers are almost double those for Cyber Monday last year (if this trend plausibly continues next year, that’s an increasingly significant chunk of your customer base).
While it’s a little late to change much vis-à-vis your mobile execution for this holiday season, I encourage both mobile “newbies” and “experts” alike to spend an hour listening to the playback of our November 15 Webinar on “The Obstacles and Enablers of Mobile Commerce” with Sucharita Mulpuru and Andrew Koven, President of E-Commerce & Customer Experience at Steve Madden.
Best practices abound in this webinar with tactics and examples from a variety of retailers. Perhaps most striking of all is the realization that it’s not just about mobile as a singular channel – or even a channel that will deliver tons of sales directly – but rather as part of a “synchronized experience,” as Sucharita notes, across all of one’s channels.
Something tells me we’ll be seeing more of this cross-channel support between mobile, desktop and store in the coming year – and a whole lot more by the time Holiday 2011 rolls around.