How can you plan for the growing influence mobile will have on retail?

To date, the focus for mobile in retail has been on developing mobile-ready sites and apps that drive transactions.

But the growth in mobile’s influence will be across the entire shopping experience, virtual and physical, predicts 

Mark Holden, head of futures at media buying and planning agency Arena Media.

“In the US, Deloitte estimates that mobile experiences influenced 5.1% of all retail sales in 2012,” Holden says.

Therefore, it is essential to plan for compelling, embedded mobile experiences.

First, Holden recommends retailers prepare for stores to be experiential showrooms by developing mobile capabilities that provide enhanced product information, store navigation, real-time content and links to m-commerce fulfilment.

Mobile-friendly payment systems and point of sale are also important.

Data management is key to quantifying the influence that mobile has on the shopper’s journey across platforms, Holden believes. He says that it helps show how shoppers move from in store, mobile or traditional desktop ecommerce channels. Next, it is important to empower audiences to start their shopping journey when they are looking for inspiration. For example, virtual bookmarking technology allows users to grab product ideas anywhere, for purchase later.

Finally, Holden recommends taking loyalty programmes into mobile through near field or location-aware technology, to reward shoppers for store visits, mobile transactions or even advocacy.