long-awaited mobile revolution is presenting untold opportunities (and challenges) for retailers, but none more so than better big-picture ROI tracking.
That’s according to a
new report from BIA/Kelsey, which suggests that mobile technology has the potential to do what search and online display advertising couldn’t: capture the complete path to the physical cash
register, where most purchases are still taking place.
“Mobile’s ability to close the ROI measurement loop continues to evolve as a function of the form factor’s
portability,” Michael Boland, senior analyst and vice president of content at BIA/Kelsey, said on Monday. “It goes with [consumers] to the store.”
“But on a
deeper level, mobile is acclimating users to trust and utilize it at all stages of local shopping -- from research, through developing forms of in-store engagement, all the way to the transaction
itself,” Boland explained.
As huge as ecommerce may appear, 93% of U.S. retail spending is still done offline, according to Forrester.
As such, Boland said he
remains surprised by all the attention and investment going toward ecommerce and its manifestation in mobile as mcommerce -- i.e., buying items on a mobile device to be shipped.
“That’s an important area of development, but the real opportunity is in mobile-assisted offline shopping,” Boland. “About 7% of U.S. retail spending is online… the
rest is offline. About 40% of that -- to the tune of almost $2 trillion -- is influenced online and in mobile,” Boland added. “Facilitating that mobile behavior through trackable user
engagement throughout the buying cycle is the name of the game.”
Mobile shopping features now range from searching for nearby products and services and signing up for
geographically specific mobile alerts for product availability to mobile coupons, loyalty rewards programs and mobile payments.
Together, these activities form a cycle that begins
with mobile search and ads, continues to in-store mobile shopping, and eventually to mobile payments, BIA/Kelsey finds.
“A third variable is all of the innovation we’re
seeing at the application layer from PayPal, Square, Find&Save, Retailigence and others,” according to Boland. “The resulting path to purchase has the potential to be a closed loop
that was previously separated between online (desktop) engagement to offline conversions in a way that wasn’t trackable at scale.&rdquo