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Retail Technology, Retail technology News

NRF 2013: Mobile takes UK multichannel

Thursday January 17 2013

The latest research confirms demand for integrating mobile technologies with store and e-commerce systems among retailers, writes Retail Technology editor, Miya Knights

The latest research confirms demand for integrating mobile technologies with store and e-commerce systems among retailers, writes Retail Technology editor, Miya Knights

 

Mobile technology is encouraging the UK to shop across multiple channels, according to the latest consumer research released at the annual ‘Retail Big Show’ held by the National Retail Federation (NRF) in New York this week.

 

The third annual Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG) study, titled Catch and Keep Digital Shoppers, surveyed 5,000 consumers in five countries, including 1,000 in the UK. It revealed cross-channel shopping continues to increase, with the online-to-store journey being used by 67% of UK shoppers and the store-to-online journey by 42%.

 

Mobile acts as catalyst

 

Significantly, given its greater share of the online shopping market, cross-channel journeys involving mobile rose significantly, especially mobile search-to-online PC purchase (used by 39% of UK shoppers) and mobile search-to-store purchase (used by 29%). By contrast, US shoppers used mobile search-to-store purchase to the same extend as their UK counterparts (29%). But the US lagged behind in mobile search-to-online PC purchases, which only 33% of shoppers used.

 

Lisa Fretwell, Cisco senior director of IBSG, retail and consumer packaged goods (CPG) already highlighted the ‘showrooming’ effect of shoppers using their smartphones instore in comments to Retail Technology earlier this week. But at NRF she also said the UK continued to lead to way when it came to embracing mobile as a new shopping channel.

 

“An interesting point to note is the older generations turning straight to tablets for ease of use,” Fretwell said. “And the fact mobile journeys increased by 20% on the search side tallies with the fact that UK shoppers are more prepared to use kiosks. They are happy to consume digital content and don’t mind self-service options.”

 

Getting returns on investment

 

Retailers are keen to embrace mobile technology in the front of their stores as well, with many having benefitted from back-office staff mobility deployments. Mobile business technology provider Motion Computing was exhibiting at NRF, nearly a year after announcing Poundland was using its mobile tablets in its warehouse operations.

 

Nigel Owens, senior vice president of worldwide sales and general manager, Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) at Motion, said interest in mobile technologies for customer-facing tasks, like queue busting or assisted selling, had been rising steadily. “We’ve revamped our CL901 device to feature Intel’s dual core Atom processor and worked with partners to develop barcoding, swipe and chip & PIN functionality via Bluetooth or other means,” he said.

 

“Before the focus was on the back office,” he said. “Now we’re seeing a huge pull forward for mobile PoS [point of sale] and outside applications like drive-throughs. It allows retailers to extend the PoS with less upfront investment.”

 

Review all the Retail Technology online reports from NRF 2013 here. To find out more on what retailers were talking about at this year's NRF, subscribe to receive the next January/February 2013 issue of Retail Technology magazine here.