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Why mobile and social media are revolutionising retail

“Smartsocial media, facebook phones and social media expand our universe. We can connect with others or collect information easier and faster than ever.” – Daniel Goleman

Imagine a world where retailers will sell product through every channel available? Where s-commerce (social media) and m-commerce (mobile commerce) merge together to create the ultimate buying machine.

Fuelled by the twin powers of convenience and opinion, customer experience redefined yet again; not so much by the physicality of the purchase environment, more so by the opinion of our peers and the intricate availability of m-commerce.

In 2015, by way of example, according to Ninth Decimal, it can be seen there has been a 110 per cent increase in the number of consumers who used smartphones for product research in 2014. Mobile usage to initially research products is at 72 per cent, following through to purchase products at 23 per cent via a mobile device.

As we see technology such as geo-fencing and mobile enabled sites, we are seeing mobility moving into other areas within the customer experience including payments, push technology, loyalty, and order fulfilment; the omnipotent device for customer experience to retailer fulfilment emerges.

Shopping through social media will, in our view, become the one of next waves in a set of change and transformation. In our view it is the rise of m-commerce that makes s-commerce a potent force in retail.

Already we see retailers such as Nordstrom and Target (US) using platforms such as like2buy on Instagram or both Facebook’s and Twitter’s ‘buy’ buttons utilised by companies such as Burberry.

Social media is moving quickly towards being a primary shopping function for today’s connected consumers due to browsing social media feeds becoming a daily habit in our lives, combined with our need for social approval and acceptance. It is noted that 81 per cent of consumers receive advice from friends and family relating to a product purchase through a social networking site.

A recent research report by DigitasLBi highlighted this impact of social media, reporting that Facebook affected the shopping behaviour of more than half (52 per cent) of the respondents, up from 36 per cent in 2014; while Pinterest influences 46 per cent of consumers and Twitter affects 36 per cent.

Returning to Nordstrom’s Instagram profile as an example. Here I click on the like2buy link – taken to the product and then to check out. For the consumer, there is no need to wait for the shop to open; while the retailer capitalises on the sale through another medium and time. A seamless and efficient retail process enjoyed by all.

Overall, mobility enables opinion and convenience and it is the inflection point of the two that is so powerful within a retail context.

Happy fit retailing

Brian Walker

Brian Walker is founder and CEO of retail consulting company, Retail Doctor Group. He specialises in the development and implementation of retail and franchise strategies. Brian can be contacted on (02) 9460 2882 or

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