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Macy’s exec: Mobile shopping behavior evolves to embrace purchasing

NEW YORK – A Macy’s executive at the NRF 105th Annual Convention & Expo detailed how mobile disruption continues to shape commerce, with the retailer not only seeing a surge in traffic on these devices during the holidays but also a jump in sales, suggesting that customers are becoming more comfortable with purchasing on smaller screens.

During the session “Macy’s Agility Platform: Delivering Personalized Shopper Journeys With Salesforce,” the executive stressed that to keep up in the constantly connected and mobile-driven retail industry, retailers need to think about mobile from the start. Last year, the Macy’s team predicted that traffic on mobile would surpass desktop, a forecast which proved accurate but also saw it come with an increase in purchasing, meaning that streamlining an optimized experience is key for returning customers to create a personalized experience.

“We have been betting on mobile for a long time now,” said Yasir Anwar, head of digital technology at Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s. “We anticipated that we were going to go higher than our desktop traffic in mobile in 2015, and it happened.

“So our mobile traffic for Macy’s got over 50 percent this time for Black Friday and the holiday season,” he said. “We also have had a mobile shopping behavior change.

“It is no longer about browse and search on mobile, customers are getting the incentive to go and actually make purchases through mobile devices.”

Macy’s and mobile
Mr. Anwar stressed how important it is for retailers to continually think of customers at the center, especially now that they drive the retailer-to-consumer conversation. Mobile has opened the door to numerous touch points in connection to the consumer, and it is important to streamline all these channels for an optimized multiplatform experience.

Mobile users are frequently taking to their devices to search, browse and gain insight on products of interest. While the traffic is exponentially higher than traffic on desktop, sales have been less than staggering.

But as retail and mobile technology are evolving, consumers are using their smartphones for a growing range of activities. Macy’s is showing that customers are not shying away from purchasing on these devices anymore, and as that number grows it suggests a future more aligned with sales on mobile.

Easing friction
The Macy’s exec believes that if retailers create a frictionless experience on mobile devices, it will build a database of loyal, returning customers, which is ideal in the commerce industry. The more amount of time a customer spends on a retailer’s mobile platform, the greater ability there is to create a tailored experience to the individual based on behavior, demographics and interests.

The more personal a digital retail experience is for shoppers, the more relevant their experience is, which can cause them to purchase more.

“We run off of mobile devices, literally,” Mr. Anwar said. “If you have a mobile device and a frictionless experience you would be able to get a more steadier engagement from the customer throughout the year and you can create a more personalized shopping experience for them.”