The mobile shopper - NZ Retail April 2015

11 Jun 2015

Today’s shoppers use their smartphones to find local retailers, source social feedback on purchases, find coupons and compare prices in-store, with a steadily growing percentage taking the next big step to making a purchase on their devices.

Stores that recognise the multifaceted role of the smartphone in today’s shopping experience, who also have a competitive pricing strategy and offer a fast and enjoyable shopping experience have a significant competitive advantage.

This issue of NZ Retail will examine :

  • The role of the smartphone in the omni-channel experience?
  • How can mobile bridge the online / offline gap (web rooming vs showrooming)?
  • What technologies are available to empower retailers to engage mobile consumers?

Make mobile-optimised shopping your first priority. Be ready and available to those shoppers who are thinking ‘mobile first’.

Questions for Frank Gilbert, managing director of Solutionists

What does Solutionists offer to its customers?

We offer both responsive design and/or a mobile optimised version of the website.  Responsive design is more cost effective for a new build, especially when there is a high level of custom features required.  A mobile site provides the ability to more highly optimise but requires individual sites for mobile phones and another one for tablets and custom features may have to be re-implemented.

How many of Solutionist’s customers are in the retail sector? 

Over 60% of our clients are in retail.

What makes a good website for a retailer?

1.        A good development partner who understands retail and has experience providing strong technical solutions.

2.       Customer, stock, pricing, promotions and transactions must be seamlessly integrated between the website and the retailer’s stores.  Typically this is via the retailers POS system or ERP software for larger retailers.

3.       The site must reflect the brand values.  This means not only does the brand look the same but that the retailer’s customers can get a similar level of service and support online as they do in-store.  Gift cards, loyalty schemes, promotional offers must all be available online and offline. 

Have the needs changed for retail businesses looking to expand their channels online? Have you seen an increase in mobile optimised websites?

Yes.  Every retailer now competes globally, whether they want to or not.  The level of functionality required must match or exceed that of all of their competitors or customers will stop shopping with them.   Mobile (phones and tablets) now account for over 40% of all online shopping visits.  Making online shopping difficult for that percentage of your customers is not a profit enhancing strategy.

What recommendations does Solutionists give to retail businesses seeking an online solution? Or, how can your company help retail businesses seeking to expand their business online?

We recommend that retailers find the strongest web development partner they can afford.  Put in the best platform they can afford and keep developing it.  It is also essential that they employ a results focused ecommerce manager who will drive the business forward.  The best website in the world won’t make sales with no-one driving it.

What common mistakes do retailers make with their websites?

Underestimating the impact of the website on in-store purchase.  It’s not just about the online sales.

Treating the expenditure on a decent ecommerce platform as an expense instead of an investment.

What are some reasons your customers that are in the retail sector have wanted to expand their channels to mobile and desktop websites?

Over 40% of visitors are using a phone or a tablet.   Screens are smaller and navigation uses swipes instead of the mouse on the other hand, desktop screens are much wider now, so there is more design freedom.

 

I’d be interested to know the reasons some businesses have not yet invested or were slow to invest in mobile optimising their websites. Is this something you’ve come across while working at Solutionists? Perhaps businesses don’t see the value in it (and need to be educated)?

The average online sales growth for Solutionists clients last year was over 50%.   Our clients are investing in online as fast as they can go because they see that, right now, online development gives them the best return on investment.    Retailers who have not invested wisely, may not be seeing such returns and so can’t see the value. 

Read the full article 

author:

Frank Gilbert

date published:

11 Jun 2015