Smartphones are changing life and retail

Last weekend, like thousands of other people, bought a new smartphone.

Although I expect it to allow me to do my job in new ways, such as posting video or audio, it will enhance life outside work too as so many have already found.

The extent to which smartphones and other mobile devices are changing life is resulting in a similar transformation in retail. Whether it’s the creation of mobile-optimised sites and apps, or consumers comparing prices while browsing a store, the effects are far-reaching.

It’s one of the themes covered in Multichannel Now, a great Retail Week report put together by our expert writer Joanna Perry. The rising use of smartphones has given the customer even greater power and is forcing retailers to be fast on their feet in response.

The fact that shoppers are in-store and getting price comparisons at a sweep of their fingertips or the push of a button is prompting interesting conversations at the value end of fashion, for instance, because of the transparent view of prices the consumer now has.

Although m-commerce brings challenges it surely brings great opportunity too. Transaction volumes are rising and there are new ways of creating relationships with customers and potential customers. The difficulty is keeping abreast of the pace of change, and the need for a mobile presence that really resonates with how people behave rather than a cursory rework of a website.

M-commerce should be high on retailers’ agenda. Think how quickly online transformed the market and customers showed willingness to buy product such as fashion - a category previously regarded as unlikely to do well digitally.