News Feature | June 9, 2016

Small Retailers Can't Ignore The Mobile Shopper

Christine Kern

By Christine Kern, contributing writer

Small Retail Mobile Shopping

New research finds small retailers feel the pinch of meeting customer mobile demands.

Small retailers are feeling the pinch when it comes to meeting the consumer mobile demands, according to RSR’s latest research. As the Mobile In Retail: The New Normal study concludes, more than any other subset of retailers, smaller businesses feel that they have to catch up to consumer expectations for mobile, but also are a lot less clear about what exactly consumers wants from a mobile presence.

The data demonstrates glaring differences between the very largest retailers (>$5B in annual revenues) and smaller retailers (< $250M). While the largest retailers are most concerned about “consumer privacy concerns over how retailers collect or use data,” their smaller peers are still most concerned that “consumers expect to use mobile as part of their shopping experience and we need to be there,”   let alone worrying about privacy concerns.  Of respondents, 78 or small retailers listed consumer expectations of mobile capabilities as their top concern,  compared to  just 47 percent of larger retailers. One reason for this difference may simply be because large retailers already have mobile solutions in place, and smaller retailers don’t.

The data also revealed that while over half of the largest retailers are concerned with responding to significant online traffic from mobile sources, only one-third of smaller retailers reported that worry; meanwhile, twice as many smaller retailers are at the “we don’t know what the consumer perceives as valuable in a mobile offering” stage, compare to the largest retailers.

As the study concluded, “What we find, however, is that even though retailers’ acceptance of consumer mobile behaviors has grown significantly in just one year (since our last mobile study), Mobile in Retail is rapidly becoming a Winners’ story: The best performers are already leaps and bounds ahead of their average and lagging competitors.”

Among the other findings of the report:

  • While pressure to meet consumers’ expectations has relaxed to a degree, it remains the number one priority for retailers.
  • While budget is still a serious obstacle for retailers, the sheer number of total roadblocks identified by retailers reveals that  much work is still necessary before organizations can fully leverage mobile solutions, but in-store and in the digital.
  • While “personalization” is the current buzzword for solution providers, genuine personalization still remains a long way off. Winners understand this, and recognize that the greatest promise of deeper customer engagement is to drive sales.
  • Winners are trying all options when it comes to the mobile offering, including a specialized platform, a downloadable consumer app, or a device-responsive E-Commerce platform.

The report is part of RSR Research's ongoing efforts to provide market intelligence on retail technology trends, is sponsored by Aptos, and can be downloaded here.