Mobile Creating Cavern Between Retailers, Brands, Consumers

Mobile is the most personal device in the hands of consumers, but it also creates a cavern between the store and the consumer, according to panelists during the panel Will Mobile Kill Or Save The Retail Experience? at South by Southwest Interactive (SXSWi) Saturday. It's no longer about B2C, but rather you to me.

Marketers view mobile as the answer to connect with consumers, provide the information they need, but panelists said the mobile app can disconnect the retailers from the brands and the customers. Some apps are impersonal and stuffed with data not all consumers need.

Colleen Sellers, director of the Allergy franchise for McNeil Consumer Healthcare at Johnson & Johnson, suggested retailers need to create unbranded apps that help consumers filter through the confusion. It should highlight categories like organic shopper, which differs from merchandise listed under the diet foods category.

Retailers need to address more accurate messaging and take risks in the apps to reduce friction in the store, per Sarah Karam, strategic product partnerships Manager at Google. She calls on retailers to create apps that not only reduce friction, but contextualize and provide a better custom experience.

Content becomes the key. There was nothing wrong with QR codes, except the content on the other side was crap, said Eric Weisberg,executive creative director, JWT. But the biggest mistake would be if retailers turned the experience into couponing, Sellers added.

Brands can't wait for retailers and retailers can't wait for brands to do a better job of connecting consumers, panelists agree.

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