Adoption of mobile will secure the future of UK Retail says Forrester's Martin Gill

Forrester Research, Principal Analyst in eCommerce and Channel Strategy, Martin Gill says that mobile will evolve as the main platform for retailers over the next three years.  39% of UK mobile users now use their smartphone for internet access on a daily basis. Talking to leading UK retailers at Internet Retailing Expo (IRX 2013) Martin revealed that they can't ignore over a third of their potential customers and explained in detail the power of smart mobile technology, plus how to harness this into valuable data and ultimately profit.


UK customer's confidence in online shopping has increased dramatically over the last five years. This has lead to retailers needing to address the drivers of online shopping such as choice and web-smart cost saving price comparisons, as the high street declines. As a Principal Retail Analyst Martin can reveal that most retailers he works with see 20-30% of their web traffic coming from mobile devices. As a handheld device mobile links the high street with the internet seamlessly.

Adopting new technology is easy for new online retailers but larger established bricks and mortar retailers can face greater logistical problems. Creating a compelling cross-touchpoint customer journey can be problematic for older retailers, such as HMV, and result in closure. Martin will highlight how retailers such as Starbucks and Debenhams are creating successful mobile centric communication campaigns, despite their incredible organisational size.

Martin gives an insight into the future retail landscape in the UK:  "Mobile opens up new dimensions when it comes to analyzing customer behaviour. Literally. Understanding a customer location when they engage gives a completely new dimension to understand their behaviour and intent. Were they are home? Were they in one of your stores or in a competitor's store? We see a lot more activity in the US around understanding and working with customer location from firms like Toys R' Us and Cabela's. But it's coming to the UK, and as Smartphone ownership is mainstream, UK firms have a huge opportunity to take customer insight to a new level."

Comments (1)

  1. Felicity Newall:
    Apr 11, 2013 at 05:21 PM

    While Martin identifies the link between mobile technologies and the growing popularity of e-commerce, he fails to mention the impact of this technology in-store. With retailers increasingly under pressure to offer an “omni-channel” shopping experience, there has never been a better time to promote the benefits of mobile technologies in shops themselves.

    Mobile technologies can be used to enable customers to download the latest offers and promotional activities, or to make a purchase without the need for a member of staff to be present and even when a store is closed, via interactive shop window displays. The clear benefit for retailers is improved consumer engagement and the opportunity to entice customers into stores and to make purchases.

    We're already recognising the benefits of interacting with customers via mobile technologies and contactless communication for in-store customer incentives as well as providing retailers with an out-of-hours route to market.

    With ‘bricks and mortar’ stores increasingly looking for new routes to revive flagging sales, mobile technologies should be considered as an opportunity to bring our struggling high streets back to life.

    David Barlow, Managing Director, C-Instore

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