Product Lookup, Couponing Lead Mobile Retail Capabilities

October 11, 2010

The most popular elements of mobile retail platforms are product lookup and couponing, according to a new study from Aberdeen Group.

Half of Mobile Retail Platforms Include Product Lookup
Findings from “Mobile Retail is a Reality” indicate that 49% of retail respondents include product lookup on their mobile retail platform. This ties into more general consumer trends of gathering data via mobile web and thus is expected to be a leading capability.

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The second-most-popular capability, mobile couponing (43%), easily connects to existing retailer loyalty programs, while smartphone-specific retail applications (37%) target explosive growth in smartphone ownership. Smartphones also provide unique graphical and interactive capabilites that greatly enhance retailers’ ability to perform branding and provide customer service.

Retailers Seek Back End Reporting, Security
On the back end of their mobile platforms, only 18% of retailers have digital dashboards and/or visualization tools for performance reporting and 21% have encryption technology. However, 62% plan to implement reporting tools in the next 12-24 months and 55% plan to implement encryption. This shows a strong intent by retailers to better monitor mobile activities.

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Back-end tools with the highest current implementation rates, content management, SMS messaging, and CRM manager, all deal with customer outreach and communication. Basic customer communication is the easiest activity to perform via mobile device and thus it is not surprising the largest percentage of respondents have implemented these mobile tools.

Targeting Most Commonly Received Benefit
Better customer targeting (by region and demographic) is the mobile retail benefit received (14%) by the largest percentage of respondents, and is expected by a healthy 60%.

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However, while only 2% of respondents currently receive an improved brand image from their mobile retail efforts, a leading 88% expect to improve their brand image. This is closely followed by improved customer satisfaction (7% received, 81% expected) and customer retention (7% received, 78% expected).

It is interesting that the one “hard” benefit on the list, decreased marketing cost, has only been received by 13% of respondents and is only expected by 36%, with half (51%) not expecting it. This suggests that for most retailers, mobile retail is more about improved customer relationships than directly higher profits.

About the Data: Aberdeen surveyed 129 retailers about their mobile retail activities.

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