Plenty has been documented about the impact of the Web and e-commerce on retailing. Now, it appears this will be the year that m-commerce (mobile commerce) begins to reshape the retail world in a big way.
The latest craze this season is apps that provide details on Black Friday specials. And the impact of iPhones, Android phones, Windows Phones, and other smartphones is being felt in a big way this season. Consumers are still coming into stores, but they're bringing their smartphones with them to search for price and product information, check merchandise availability, compare prices at nearby stores, and browse product reviews.
A new survey of 1,000 US consumers by IDC Retail Insights finds that mobile shopping will account for or influence up to 28%, or $127 billion, of the $447 billion the National Retail Federation (NRF) predicts U.S. consumers will spend this holiday season.
The influence extends right into the stores. The survey finds mobile m-commerce -- in conjunction with social media (sm)-commerce -- are giving consumers greater advantage as they engage retailers on their own terms – even inside the store – within arm's reach of merchandise at the moment of their buying decision, IDC relates.
A similar survey conducted by the NRF also confirms the growing role of smartphones in shopping -- "more than one-fourth of Americans who have a smartphone will use their mobile device to shop for gifts, compare prices and research products (or read reviews, buy merchandise, find nearby stores…the opportunities are truly endless)."
Retail businesses need to take heed of this burgeoning trend. "Retailers’ m-commerce competence greatly influences consumer perceptions about the brand," IDC says. "Further, an easy-to-use mobile website significantly influences consumers, across all age groups, on where to shop this holiday season."
The IDC survey also found that more than one third of smartphone-carrying consumers (who represent 24% of all U.S. consumers) are ready to use their mobile devices in ways that transform how they shop everywhere and, in particular, how they shop in retail stores.