In my last post, The Power of Mobile Retail, Part 1, I discussed the impact mobile devices are having on the consumer’s shopping experience. So with such a mobility centered world we’re now living in, how come some companies still aren’t entering the space?

According to a research paper from SAP and Google entitled “Keeping Up With the Mobile Consumer”, the top three organizational inhibitors standing in the way of taking advantage of mobile opportunities are:

  • ROI is hard to quantify
  • Budgeting. Very little capital investment available
  • Not enough eCommerce/Mobile resources to manage the opportunities

How to Fix it

So what’s the way forward? How can retail organizations begin to capitalize on this mobile revolution?

The top two ways cited were placing an executive tasked with managing and improving the overall customer experience, as well as more coordination between the selling channels and marketing.

One way companies, like my own, are trying to appease their customers is by creating a new CxO role, the Chief Customer Experience Officer. These are the customer’s campaigner, responsible for creating a single vision across customer service, sales, marketing, billing, and user interface, ensuring the customer experience, is enjoyable and easy.

If your company isn’t looking to add one more cook to the kitchen, consider creating a strong friendship between the CIO and the CMO. In the Forbes article, Lisa Arthur highlights that “technology and marketing are now inextricably tied. Success depends on collaboration.”

RSR also suggests that a “cross-functional team, comprised of IT, Marketing, eCommerce, store operations, and financial…executives” is at the least, imperative.

Another way the winners of the marketplace are overcoming internal barriers is by utilizing third parties to help navigate them through the mobile landscape.

However, one major way even the winners are missing out, is by actually reaching out to the customer, perceiving that the customer is just as confused by how they can effectively use their mobile device in the retail space.

I find this a bit ridiculous. As someone who grew up with a mobile phone, and now owner of 3 mobile devices, I know what I want and what I’m looking for. But, it does differ from what some others want.

So, To App or Not To App?

Respondents were split almost down the middle on the value of a downloadable app, unsure if it would yield more engagement over a mobile site. A probing questions to ask if on the fence is, what value would opening an application bring to your already busy buyer?

Whatever You Decide To Do…

Mobility in retail isn’t going anywhere. Whether it be in-store interactions with customer’s personal devices, or on their mobile sites. Don’t let the speed of technology scare you away, according to the report, “it is safe to predict that uses of new mobile innovations will become deciding factors for some retailers’ ability to thrive, and an accelerant for others’ demise.”

So if you create an app or a mobile site, don’t forget to include your customer’;s in the process. They can help you choose the right user interface, validate what works and what doesn’t, as well as be the ones to spread the positive message about your new mobility.

Make your customer experience seamless and comprehensive. Listen to them, to focus groups, to surveys, and to what your customers are saying about you on social media.

No mobile platform should be left untouched, that could be a missed sale. The consumer already owns the device and uses it, depends on it. By making your product easy to access on something that’s always near their hands and wallets, I’d say that makes for a pretty good business model.

To read the full report click here and select: Keeping up with the Mobile Consumer to read the full report. (Registration Required)