Mobile is redefining how consumers shop and engage with a brand, and many of us are now shopping on the go.

Mobile is redefining how consumers shop and engage with a brand, and many of us are now shopping on the go.

Yet at least 50% of UK retailers still don’t have a mobile-compatible site – Currys and Dixons, for example, which is rather surprising given they sell smartphones and tablets.

And, considering 22% of web users in the UK are mobile-only – ie, they don’t use desktop computers – retailers are losing sales and share of consumers’ searches.

On first view, Ikea appears to have a mobile-compatible site, but after going through the selection of regions and countries, I ended up with the bog-standard ecommerce site that simply doesn’t work on a smaller browser window.

I thought to myself, WTF? (Where’s the furniture?) Many retailers have developed apps, when it is highly unlikely that consumers will want to engage with them in this way. After all, how many apps can I be expected to download?

So I’m having a déjà vu moment, because mobile feels like the evolution of the web all over again.

Too many retailers aren’t thinking strategically or long term, ‘dipping their toes’ or making expensive choices to implement solutions such as apps that will quickly become redundant.

Only recently I spoke to someone at one of the UK’s leading department stores, who told me it was “considering touchless payments”. I asked where that sat within the overall mobile strategy? To which the response was: “We don’t have one.”

Surely no one needs convincing of the change in consumer behaviour that’s been driven by smartphones and tablets and the impact that is having?

Here are some stats if you do: one in four consumers have made a transaction via mobile, according to Harris research; by 2015, 80% of shoppers will use mobile phones or tablets during the purchase process, says Verdict; 18% of Schuh’s sales come through mobile, of which 60% come through tablets; eBay took more than $5bn (£3.2bn) through mobile in 2011.

Mobile strategy is defined by user goals and needs, and those are fundamentally about letting me shop how I want. Therefore, QR codes, touchless payments and in-store Wi-Fi all have a part to play as well.

  • Martin Newman, Chief executive, Practicology