Most retailers won’t equip associates with tablets for at least a year
Smartphones are turning millions of Americans into mobile shoppers, and retail is the fastest-growing category for mobile content, but retailers still have a long way to go before they make the most of mobile.
When in-store mobile retail solutions firm AisleBuyer surveyed retailers in December, about 20% said they had a mobile app that enabled usage of their ecommerce site. More likely have a mobile-optimized website, but for those with an m-commerce app, functionality was often limited.
While most included a store locator and the option to browse the site’s catalog or check prices, only a slight majority allowed users to buy online and ship items either to a store or their home, or even to search.
Fewer retailers had apps intended specifically for in-store use, at 14%, and these had even fewer features. A majority (54%) included QR code scanners, while half had GPS-enabled score locators and slightly fewer sported old-fashioned 1-D barcode scanners. But features like buy in-store and ship home, or mobile self-checkout, were uncommon.
Similarly, mobile points of sale where store associates are armed with tablets, smartphones or an iPod touch remain far in the future for most retailers—if they are even on the horizon.
Many of these options will not make sense for all brick-and-mortar stores, especially considering the time and effort of training associates to use new devices when the need for self- or mobile checkout might not be there. But as shoppers become accustomed to using mobile devices for more shopping-related purposes, they will expect fully featured apps or mobile websites to assist them both in-store and before they get there.
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Check out today’s other article, “Most Consumers Still Don’t Talk About Brands on Social Sites.”