Ubiquitous wi-fi and cheap 3G on tablets will be big game-changers in mobile commerce over the next year according to retail’s ecommerce gurus.
When asked at Retail Week Live what the next big development will be to revolutionise mobile shopping, Shop Direct group ecommerce director Jonathan Wall said: “Wi-fi. It will be ubiquitous across the country in the next 12 months. It will allow people to use videos on tablets on the move.”
Both New Look and Debenhams agreed that improving connectivity would help catapult mobile sales.
Debenhams head of digital operations Ashley Payne said: “If it was really cheap to have 3G access on a tablet all the time [it would boost m-commerce]. At the moment it feels like you have to pay a premium.”
Wall said that Shop Direct, which operates Littlewoods and Very, is focused on investing in its mobile website ahead of apps and would only develop apps if they did something different to its mobile site.
He said: “Our fundamental strategy is around mobile web. There’s still things you can do on apps that you can’t do on mobile but why waste your time if they do the same thing? We have a catalogue app as some people like the catalogue feel but it’s not in our interest to develop one that does the same as mobile.”
Meanwhile, New Look multichannel director Shivani Tejuja said mobile web was also its core focus, however, it is developing apps specifically to help staff engage with customers.
“In-store, people use tablets to find their size or to see if there’s different colours. We’re focusing on developing an app on a tablet to allow staff to lead them through the journey.”