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Inside Retail & Adobe

Is mobile the future of retail?

As e-commerce has surged in popularity in the last year, with a strong shot in the arm delivered by the Covid-19 pandemic, customers are increasingly turning to their most accessible computing device for their shopping needs: their mobile phones.

With brands increasingly looking for new ways to reach and forge connections with customers that are expecting more from their shopping experience, a focus on delivering a strong mobile shopping offer is key to winning new customers and bringing back existing shoppers. 

And while many are already on board there is still a significant opportunity to differentiate a brand through a strong mobile experience, according to Adobe’s principal product manager of JAPAC Scott Rigby.

“The last 15 months have obviously seen a significant uptake in mobile commerce,” Rigby told Inside Retail. 

“Australia has been somewhat of a laggard, but in the last year we’ve seen double-digit growth in mobile commerce – and it’s not just about being able to transact from a mobile perspective, it’s about being able to provide the optimal experience for mobile.”

This week, Adobe is releasing a report on ‘mobile shopping’ in an effort to help businesses to grow within the still under-utilised sales and engagement channel.

The report, called ‘Mobile Shopping – Growing a unique and powerful sales and engagement channel’, breaks down a number of factors that are central to mobile shopping across the world and which are opportunities many brands can take advantage of.

The age of QR codes

QR codes have become fairly commonplace in our current environment: every store has a code out the front to allow customers to ‘check in’ to help track the spread of the virus. And, according to Rigby, these small, square boxes could form the backbone of some impressive shopping experiences.

“There’s no doubt that people are much more familiar with the use of QR codes now than say six months or a year ago,” Rigby said. 

“I think half of the population of Australia didn’t know you could just point your camera at a QR code to open a link, and I think with this, mobile can play a more central role in bridging the divide between the online and offline worlds.”

There are many ways QR codes could be easily integrated into a retail context. Scanning a code on a customer’s phone could allow them to checkout using their mobile device, or it could bring up a spec sheet for the product they are looking at in store.

It could generate a 3D model of a boxed item and give an idea of what it will look like when built – something Lego has started doing with their products. Or, if a customer does their browsing online before buying in-store, a brand’s website can generate a QR code based on their online shopping cart which can be scanned by in-store staff to retrieve the goods on-site: creating a compelling omnichannel offer and easing the burden on customer and staff.

Creating a bespoke experience

Many customers like the convenience of marketplaces, having most of the things they need in one place can cut down on the need to shop around, after all. However, these marketplaces tend to struggle when it comes to putting forward each individual business’ brand identity – something that is increasingly important to today’s customers, who want to connect with each brand they buy from on a personal level.

A dedicated mobile app or website can go a long way in providing this and can help to convert those customers who aren’t taken in by the ‘kitchen sink’ approach of many marketplaces. 

“Without a doubt, more specific apps will provide a better experience for customers,” Rigby said. 

“If you look at Amazon, or Flipkart in India, or Lazada in Southeast Asia, they’re very generic experiences because they just can’t provide that level of individual personalisation.

“It definitely helps for retailers to have their own application, whether that be native or a [progressive web app], it will create a more bespoke experience for customers which is much more personalised. ”

To see the ways your business can grow its mobile experience, download Adobe’s Mobile Shopping – Growing a unique and powerful sales and engagement channel white paper here. 

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