Last night was Mobile Monday London’s sixth birthday event at London’s glamorous Centre Point. There were some familiar faces there last night and it was great to be back at a MoMo event, especially one that given the line up of speakers and topics, promised to deliver.
Martyn Warwick, from Telecom TV chaired the session with Russell Buckley (@russellbuckley) from Eagle Eye Solutions (client of Speed), Mark Curtis (@fjordmark) from Fjord, David Wood (@DW2) from Accenture and Mike Short from Telefonica all providing their answers to some of the big questions in mobile.
Some of those big questions seemed to centre around the death of things…perhaps a little morbid, but it was the conversations on privacy, trust, location and retail that took my particular interest. Much of the industry seems to be concerned about the decline and re-birth of different industries, which is i think only natural. After all, these cycles present a variety of different business opportunities.
I’ve heard all of these guys talk at MoMoLo and elsewhere before and although that everyone on the panel last night made some very interesting and valid points…i think that Mark and Russell always provide some fantastic food for thought.
I always come out of a MoMo session with a load of notes and thoughts, so I thought that instead of one massive blog post, I’d break it down in to maybe three shorter ones on different topics. So here goes, first up – retail.
Live or let die?
If a major high-street retailer doesn’t have a mobile offering today, something I can go to, download, view now, then it could already be too late. Mobile moves at such a rapid pace – evident to see from the recap of the last six years of events since MoMoLo started – that by the time it takes to act on something, it’s already out of date.
Five years ago there was no such thing as an iPhone and it was only a very slight minority that were using WAP on their phone to search the web, download JAVA and J2ME apps. Five years in retail never used to be *that* long of a time. In mobile, five years is a lifetime. As mobile commerce is increasing, retailers need to be quicker at adapting otherwise there’s a big risk that consumers leave them behind.
Interestingly, econsultancy recently published some stats around retailers and mobile offerings, concluding that:
- 36 of the top 47 retailers on the list have either a mobile optimised website or a smartphone app.
- 21 of the 47 have both sites and apps.
- 9 have just apps, while 6 have a mobile site and no apps.
Russell made an interesting point that even when a retailer has a mobile offering and drives a consumer to the store, the battle isn’t won yet. Retailers are competing in their own stores for that consumer to make a purchase – 21% of consumers that own a smartphone have changed their mind about purchasing a product in store as a result of information gathered on their device. Retailers are failing to make the sale even with the consumer there with the product, hand in pocket. But the hand isn’t on their cash; it’s on their mobile.
Russell rounded up by concluding that it’s a fact that a lot of digital marketing techniques have passed many retailers by as they’ve never really invested in digital marketing. Many retailers out there are just not geared up for mobile thinking yet, but they have to be as they’re about to go through absolutely massive changes just as the music, publishing and many other industries have.
Mark went as far to say that a lot of retail looks dead already. I think that in some ways he’s right, but arguably it’s in retail that a lot of the action and opportunity is right now. Some retailers have made significant effort towards mobile and continue to reap the benefits, Amazon for example is always, always my default choice to check prices, availability etc. and I’ll continue to give them my custom as they provide exceptional service. There are however many others using mobile very well such as Tesco, Ocado and Argos to name a couple.
Mark went on to say that retailers who don’t now accept that mobile is very much part of their business are in big trouble and that high street retailers should be looking at making their stores in to experiences rather than just a place to hold and sell stock. Something that Steve Jobs evangelised when the first Apple Store opened in 2001.
In the last 10 years Apple Stores across the globe have provided that ‘Apple experience’ that make visiting a store actually quite an enjoyable experience even when you don’t have anything particular to buy. How many other stores can you name that have a similar effect? I’m struggling to name any other that offers a consumer something similar. Any suggestions?