It’s the holiday season and that means people all over are thinking about not just buying the best gift for their loved ones, but also at the best price they can find. We enjoy retail deals so much that we created faux holidays, Black Friday and Cyber Monday. These two dedicated shopping days give consumers the thrill of discovering the greatest deal.

As an avid Black Friday shopper I found something surprising this year: less people in the stores, on the streets, and trying to take my parking spot. That last one really perplexed me. So I started to read around and I discovered there’s a brand new way users are snatching that 40%-off sale I stood in line for and it’s all from the comfort of their couch but, not in front of a computer.

These users are buying from their mobile devices. So much in fact during this year’s Black Friday, Pay Pal saw a 173% increase on mobile payment volume. And companies like Staples offered unique mobile only deals, citing “[Staples] knows that consumers are increasingly turning to their mobile devices to not only shop but do research in-store and on the go.”

Shopping on mobile is revolutionizing how consumers and retailers engage and is doing so in ways that cross-channel commerce could never imagine. SAP and Google teamed up with Retail Systems Research (RSR) to answer some powerful questions on how the retail enterprise will respond to this mobile shopping revolution.

They surveyed 83 qualified retail respondents who varied from C-level execs to the basic staff and worked for companies that amassed revenue ranging from less than $50 million to almost $5 billion. The respondents were grouped three categories:

  • The Winners, those who have channel sales growth above 6% when comparing one year after the next. They don’t do the same thing better, they do different things – they think, plan and respond to demands differently.
  • Average, those who maintained a 6% growth. They’re just average.
  • Laggards, those who were below the channel sales growth rate. They, like the Winners, do things differently. However, unlike the winners they fail to execute, fail to realize the power of the consumer, and fail to respond to the obvious signs their business model is outdated.

Consumers have become the dictators of these commodity stores; and 92% of winners are using mobile as a part of their shopping experience because they realize they need to be where their customers are.

Although retailers recognize the importance of getting their products on a mobile compatible screen, there are still major internal strategy disputes. For example, companies are struggling on how to understand and accommodate customer segments they need to engage with. Not to mention mobile technology is moving so fast that by the time the laggard organizations establish a strategy, their customers have moved on.

Winner respondents shared that 12% of them are using their mobile strategy and are targeting the right audience and seeing good results. However, 50% of even the winners are still trying to select the right components for their mobile offerings.

The top four most important mobile capabilities their site or application needed to have were:

  1. The ability for their customers to search for merchandise
  2. Store Locator
  3. Receive coupon offers
  4. Access product reviews.

Although both the winners and the laggards agreed on the top four, the winners are “laser-focused” on creating an easy process for their customer to search, review, select, and buy their merchandise.

The average Joe’s and Laggards placed a heavier value on including a store locator (who needs that when you have access to Google?), receiving and redeeming coupons (isn’t there an app for that?), as well as the ability to view the weekly ad (they still make those?).

It may be just me, but doesn’t the difference between the Winner’s and the Laggards seem on par with our consumer culture? We want everything quick and easy with other’s input. We not only want an easy buying process, but we expect it thus forcing retailers to really think long and hard about how they can provide the best experience to their consumers.

So what’s stopping the Laggards, and even some of the Winners, from going mobile? Read more in the next post of this two part series.

To read the full report, click here.