As we reflect back at the last 12 months in payments, it can be difficult to recall all of the innovations that have helped omnichannel move from buzzword to a merchant forefront strategy. And at the very center of that strategy is mobile — specifically, mobile payments, beacon technology, mPOS and apps. This month’s Vantiv Omnicommerce Tracker report highlights the strides made this year with innovations and developments that have served to bring merchants' physical and digital storefronts. It also tracks the retailers that have already begun to leverage Apple Pay, beacon technology, and other mobile apps and payment methods to engage, enable and serve their customers through this holiday shopping season and into the new year.
Last year, 52.1 percent of all holiday online browsing activity was done via smartphone or tablet, surpassing PCs for the first time ever, according to IBM. According to Vanity's own Consumer Insights Survey conducted earlier this year, this holiday season could prove to be the most mobile of them all. Progressive retailers like Walmart, Target and Kohl's have enhanced their mobile apps and optimized their websites to support mobile-first shoppers. And according to Accenture's annual holiday shopping survey, those who said they plan to shop online via a desktop, mobile device or tablet increased by 32 percent this year as compared to last year. Perhaps even better news for omnicommerce merchants, half of the survey respondents said they'd be willing to try or would definitely use a service that would enable them to pay using their mobile phone at checkout.
One of the many contributing factors to the mobile activity boost is that retailers have connected the dots between previously disjointed commerce-centric activities that haven't always led to increased store traffic. According to Vantiv research, if mobile payments methods offered discounts and rewards like those offered for credit cards, many consumers would "most likely" use them. Another survey released in November indicated that 40 percent of U.S. online shoppers said they like the idea of mobile payments and prefer that idea to carrying around a physical wallet. Whether or not this changing behavior can be attributed largely to Apple Pay's launch, however, remains to be seen.
But mobile is not just being used in a way that helps consumers pay more quickly and easily -- it's also being used on the retailer side for enhanced reporting, online ordering, inventory tracking, and more as retailers enable mPOS tablet solutions in their stores, realizing that getting consumers quick access to product information can be key in boosting sales this season.
Key insights from Vantiv this month indicate:
1) To engage customers, progressive retailers in the space have already optimized their sites to support the experiences required by mobile-first shoppers and, in many cases, aggressively working to remove the friction from the last step between browsing and buying – the checkout page.
2) To enable customers, merchants will use discounts and rewards to incentivize consumers to use their mobile devices, for payments and shopping.
3) To serve customers, store owners are using enhanced reporting, online ordering capabilities in-store, inventory tracking, loyalty program management and other tactics as part of their decisions two enable mPOS.
Players executing mobile-focused omnicommerce strategies during this holiday shopping season include:
1) To engage customers, Target, Walmart and Kohl’s are among the big-box retailers that have new “souped-up” engaging mobile apps this year, in hopes to steer shoppers away from Amazon and boost in-store traffic.
2) To enable customers, a number of upscale retailers like Michael Kohrs and Lord & Taylor are testing beacon technology in effort to create a more personalized customer shopping experience.
3) To serve customers, merchant mPOS implementation and usage has skyrocketed, with about 1.2 million mPOS having been shipped to MasterCard merchants globally, according to a report by Mahindra Comviva and Ovum Consulting.
This report will, on a monthly basis, document the moves these progressive retailers are making to enable omnichannel across three critical lenses:
Engage the Customer: Strategies merchants are enacting to drive customers into their store or online including loyalty programs, contextually relevant offers, and leveraging data to make relevant product recommendations.
Enable the Customer: Tools merchants are deploying to arm customers with the ability to shop and buy whenever and wherever they want including apps, enabling payment within the app, location-based services, and the ability to shop and fulfill purchases regardless of channel.
Serve the Customer: Ways in which merchants are stepping out from behind the counter to deliver enhanced shopping experiences such as mobile-point-of-sale, ability to check inventory in real-time, etc.
The report will also feature industry-spanning statistics and factoids curated by Vantiv, whose solutions help merchants more easily make that transition. These statistics and factoids will help to arm retailers (and those who power them) with data to make smarter decisions when considering various options for enabling omnicommerce.
For more on the developments across the omnicommerce ecosystem, download the full version of this month’s report by clicking the button below.