The weather outside may be frightful, but for retailers with mobility strategies in place this holiday season, sales will be delightful. That’s because all signs point to digital transformation as the key for a merry and successful holiday season.
Do You Hear What I Hear?
When it comes to holiday shopping, the bottom line is that mobility is the bottom line. In 2015, holiday purchases made on tablets and smartphones rose to more than $12.6 billion, a nearly 60 percent increase over the 2014 holiday season. Overall, online retail is now conducted predominantly via mobile devices.Even in primarily brick-and-mortar establishments, more than 80 percent of customers use their smartphones when making a purchase decision.
With Black Friday—the traditional start of the holiday sales season—fast approaching, retailers know that having the right mobility strategy, and ultimately the right digital workspace solutions, in place this year will mean the difference between a merry and a blue Christmas. Here are the top mobility trends retailers are counting on to make their yuletide bright this holiday.
No retailer hoping for a profitable holiday shopping season can ignore the rapid and impressive growth of mobile web adoption. And with mobile applications now accounting for more than half the time consumers spend on their devices, smart retailers are ensuring their businesses have a mobile app to engage their customers and target markets.
Savvy retailers know they must optimize their mobile apps and websites to make it simple and fast for customers to make mobile purchases. Retailers who fail to make purchasing easy will find those shoppers disengaging and looking for other retailers that offer a more intuitive mobile experience. In fact, a 2015 study found that nearly 60 percent of consumers will leave a website that fails to load within three seconds. But once optimized, retailers can take advantage of mobility-based strategies to maximize their holiday sales.
Many retailers use mobile applications to implement customer loyalty programs. By leveraging existing customer data, retailers target their best customers with special deals and customized incentives. With smartphone sales doubling year after year, nearly 70 percent of all adults in the United States now own and use a smartphone. And since 2010, data usage on smartphones has increased more than 525 percent.
Since both trends expected to continue, retailers can improve the customer experience—and improve profits this holiday season—by using mobile apps to enable shoppers to purchase goods and services any time, from anywhere, on any device.
Customizing the payment process for the user’s convenience will seriously pay off for retailers. Eighty-six percent of consumers agree that they prefer shopping on a mobile app versus a website. Retail experts believe this is largely due to the ease of use that comes with mobile app payment methods. One-click payments, for example, make purchasing easier and more efficient, while providing the added benefit of helping diminish last-minute “second thoughts” that shoppers may entertain while fishing for their credit cards.
There is a growing realization that everything in the retail business needs to undergo a digital transformation. This means reinventing the business from virtually the ground up, in order to streamline business processes. With the right digital workspace solutions, retailers can better align departments and lines of business with the mobile customer experience: sales, marketing, finance, administration, and customer service.
Embedding greater security into the mobile retail experience is paramount. Retail enterprises need to ensure the security and privacy of every aspect of their businesses, including mobile devices for associates, kiosks, supply chain systems, points of sales (POS), and all payment transactions—to name just a few. New digital workspace technologies, such as identity management and conditional access, help enterprises protect themselves and their customers from the device to the data center.
Artificial intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT) play a larger role this holiday season. In many cases, mobile retailers use algorithms and big data analytics to deliver gift ideas and incentives. In the weeks leading up to Black Friday, promotions are customized and micro-targeted directly to the individual consumer, based on their past web browsing and online purchasing decisions.
Helping Retailers Make the Season Bright
Retailers who take advantage of these mobility trends—and the right digital workspace solution that enables IT to manage these mobile strategies—will not only have the opportunity to increase their revenues this holiday season, but also help level the playing field in what is easily the most competitive shopping time of the year. Through digital transformation, retailers have greater opportunities to reach, engage, incent, and retain more customers, while enabling an improved holiday shopping experience.
With the industry’s broadest range of enterprise-grade digital workspace, unified endpoint management, and security solutions, VMware enables retailers to take full advantage of the power of mobility this holiday, and all year round. And for retailers looking to have a happy and profitable holiday, ’tis glad tidings indeed.