Retailers need to embrace mobile faster, believes app expert

News that successful omni-channel retailer Argos has generated £1bn of m-commerce revenue in a year, should act as stark warning for other retail brands that fail to realise the power of mobile. That's the message from experienced retailer Simon Howship, now managing director of mobile app development specialist Common Agency.

Simon Howship.

The figure was revealed at the Argos 'Christmas in July' event, following a 38% increase in sales involving a mobile device, in the year to February 28. Argos also claimed to be the first multichannel retailer in the UK to break this £1bn barrier, a significant accolade for a brand that maintains a strong presence on the high street.

But now is the time for other retail brands to embrace the opportunities that mobile innovations can bring, before customers and revenues are lost to competitors, believes Simon.

"All too often, we see reports that suggest mobile is having a negative impact on bricks and mortar retailing," comments Simon. "But Argos' multifaceted retail strategy strongly illustrates that mobile is the key part of the jigsaw. We're seeing customers use mobile devices for browsing, researching, showrooming, transacting, harnessing the convenience of click+collect, and more.

"The 'out of sight, out of mind' philosophy that so many retailers seem to adopt when it comes to mobile, will therefore become increasingly dangerous. You have to be situated where customers go looking for you, and increasingly that's in the App Store. If you're nowhere to be found, or the customer experience isn't up to scratch, they'll simply go elsewhere."

This is not the first time the retail landscape has hit the headlines when it comes to mobile. In April, Barclays revealed that 68% of retailers have no specific m-commerce strategy. The banking giant's study also reported that mobile spend is forecast to rocket from £9.7bn per annum to over £53bn in the next ten years.

Simon continues: "This is a staggering, but unsurprising statistic, and consumers are driving this trend. So, whilst retailers' procrastination is perhaps understandable, the journey into the world of mobile should not be delayed for much longer.

"I am absolutely confident that any established retailer with an existing customer base and online presence could achieve a minimum of £250,000 additional turnover before the end of the year, if they had a native mobile app. And this wouldn't be to the detriment of their other in-store or e-commerce strategies. In fact it would enhance them. It may sound controversial, but can any retailer afford to turn away a quarter of a million pounds of revenue"

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