Sunday, March 11, 2012

mCommerce Gaining Ground

Direct Commerce magazine (UK) reports that Shop Direct Group, one of the UK’s largest online and home shopping retailers with £1.7 billion in sales from brands like, Littlewoods, Isme and, gets 11 percent of its online sales from mobile devices (and online/mobile account for 3/4 of all sales).

Says eCommerce director Jonathan Wall, "2011 was the year Shop Direct began to see 'material growth' in mobile sales. 'Where customers had perhaps been a little apprehensive about the security of the channel prior to 2011, last year we saw confidence in mobile growing. This was particularly evident at Christmas, when a greater proportion of customers chose to buy all of their shopping on mobile devices rather than just one or two items,' he says."

Direct merchants outside the UK will be interested to learn that UK shipper Collect+ has played a big role in the company's fulfillment strategy. Says Wall, “Gone are the days of waiting in the house all day for an item to arrive. In this respect, Collect+ is a major advantage for us, providing a footprint of more than 4,500 ‘stores’ across the UK without any of the associated cost of bricks and mortar. Customers can have items delivered to their local Spar or petrol station at no extra charge and can then collect or return their goods at a time to suit them.”

Direct Commerce also reports Wall as saying that “Our shopping sites are now all ‘on rails’ and device-agnostic, offering every customer a simple and effective browsing and purchasing experience whether on a smartphone or a tablet.”

Warns Wall, "'get mobile wrong and you risk losing existing customers to your competitors.' Get it right and Wall believes the opportunity for incremental sales will come—'particularly on smartphones and smaller tablets, which we expect to display more truly ‘mobile’ behaviours when they begin to appear later this year.'

"In order to deliver a truly exceptional mobile shopping experience for customers, Wall says Shop Direct has a number of advancements in the pipeline for 2012. 'Our current shopping apps work well, but our next wave of apps aims to be world class, offering enhanced gesture-based shopping, barcode and QR code scanning and Collect+ geolocation services. Our third generation ‘beyond rails’ mobile sites will also offer greater choice, flexibility and ease of use for customers.”

So-called "digital fingerprinting will help Shop Direct Group knit together a better 360-degree view of "each individual’s browsing and shopping behaviour patterns across multiple devices. . . providing Shop Direct with enough data points to support substantially more effective personalisation. 'Our mobile strategy can be summed up simply as "always connected, any device.' Now more than ever, customers are moving faster than retailers; we plan to be the best at keeping up.” 

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