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Creating effective merchandising strategies for mobile

By Ji Kim

According to the recent “Mobile Shopper Insights for 2011” report released by Adobe Scene7, 62 percent of consumers surveyed with connected mobile devices have made a purchase using their device, and many analysts believe that we are only at the beginning of the mobile shopping revolution.

In fact, Barclays Capital predicts that U.S. mobile commerce sales are expected to hit $5.3 billion in 2011, up 83 percent from a year ago, and ABI Research predicts that $119 billion worth of goods and services will be purchased via a mobile phone by 2015.

With growth figures climbing into the hundreds of billions of dollars in less than five years, now is the time for retailers and brands to take a much more in-depth look at mobile commerce strategies.

So, how does a marketer effectively embrace this trend of shoppers increasingly reaching for mobile devices to research products and prices at the point of decision?

Shop till you stop
For shopping activities such as researching products and comparing prices, a majority of mobile shopper respondents surveyed in the Mobile Shopper Insights for 2011 Report favored using mobile sites over applications, and two-thirds of those respondents stated that they prefer sites as opposed to apps for accessing product and other shopping content.

Many retailers are also now integrating the online and in-store shopping experience by offering customers access to a greater merchandise selection in the form of tablet-like displays in-store.

This, coupled with elements such as QR codes located on in-store promotional pieces and advertising materials to provide more information about a brand or product, is enticing shoppers now more than ever to make purchases from mobile devices – and the majority of those purchases are being made directly from the retail Web site.

The problem, however, is that some mobile commerce sites can be a bit clunky. It often takes several clicks for shoppers to find the products they want, and some search tools tend to return a list of irrelevant products.

The time for a mobile 2.0 revolution is now, and ecommerce sites need to do away with the limited mobile sites they are serving.

The development in mobile shopping tools over the past couple of years such as bar code scanning, deal searching and price comparisons, used in conjunction with a more scalable merchandising platform, can turn a static ecommerce site into an invaluable, dynamic, relevant resource for the mobile shopper.

Of course, this takes cooperation on both sides.

End cap, end goal
Retailers and brands need to more effectively collaborate in the new mobile environment to create mobile commerce sites that provide consumers with an easier and, ultimately greater, shopping experience.

The new mobile site should showcase popular, relevant products for interested shoppers and, as witnessed in the in-store retail environment and by its rapidly-growing use in ecommerce environments, brands will pay to be in front of mobile consumers researching the category of products that they sell.

The concept of a mobile end cap, benefiting consumers, retailers and brands, will help to bring these concepts to life.

Securing premium digital shelf space on mobile commerce sites allows brands to gain product awareness and capture their consumer at the mobile point of purchase while providing retailers with a new source of high-margin revenue from monetizing mobile digital shelf space.

Most importantly, this process preserves critical elements of the in-store shopping experience for the mobile consumer by providing them the ability to easily find the specific products they want through the use of an enhanced, highly relevant mobile shopping experience.

There are literally billions of dollars up for grabs in the rapidly-growing mobile market. What will you do to get your share of that?

Ji Kim is founder/CEO of DiJiPoP, Providence, RI. Reach him at [email protected].