12/17/2010 02:18 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

The Mobile Shopping "Thumb" Generation

The changing face of shopping and the part the mobile is playing in this revolution via the "thumb" generation. Folks are moving from high street shopping to "high street browse," try on and then go back to the internet to look for the deal, read the reviews and then purchase either in the comfort of armchair or sat in the comfort of Starbucks on our mobiles'. For example, 4.2 million folks now in the UK are already using their mobiles to access the internet and browse retailer's ecommerce sites. So where are the retailers in all this? Playing catch up with their customers as fast as possible, often responding to where they can, already measure a groundswell requirement. John Lewis, a major department store, in the UK has recently launched its mobile website as a direct response to 100,000 of their customers already accessing their website via their mobiles. But John Lewis is the exception to the rule in the UK.

Whilst the urge to please customers, capture sales and the business and compete with competitors is very hard to resist, as the IMRG point out in a recent survey -- of 57 retailers, only 4 had fully optimized mobile websites in the UK. Many retailers, however, are launching apps or a website in an effort to capture their customer but the survey showed that a tactical approach to mobile marketing is likely to back fire as 82% of consumers admitted if a retailers' website performed badly it would dissuade them from buying goods from that organization on the web or even in store. And in today's social media driven society, a poor fragmented customer experience could turn off not only the direct customer but many more if that customer chooses to review their experience on the web. So getting the customer experience wrong carries a real risk!

Mobile is the killer channel -- it's personal, very personal. It is the one item we carry with us everywhere. A recent survey suggested that 42% of people would rather lose their wallet than their mobile. Tactical, silo mobile adoption is just a stop-gap for a brand; often not integrated with other channels or other brands in the business' portfolio. And in terms of what next, generally a company will opt for another technology led play. It's basically get the list of mobile technologies and pick them off one by one whilst keeping an eye on what the competition are doing. No integration, no alignment to the business' challenges or strategy, no single 360 view of the customer and with silo's comes gaps! So the need to do this within a strategic roadmap that not only aligns to the retailer but also their customers are an imperative. Catch up will be significantly more expensive than taking the strategic approach in the first place.

Chris Brassington
CEO and Founder at Starfish 360