#RBTE2018 Mobile still presenting great opportunities for retailers

New technologies continue to impact the retail industry but underlying this is the mobile channel that continues to play a significant role

Mobile continues to be massively influential on retailers’ technology focus and where they direct their IT budget as shoppers increasingly interact, and make their purchases, across the channel.

On a panel discussion on ‘Trends driving e-commerce in 2018’ Camilla Tress, e-commerce strategist at Oliver Bonas, revealed that the metrics around mobile had all risen significantly at Oliver Bonas with traffic up 60%, conversation rates up, and the number of purchases also having increased.

Mark Lewis, CTO at Practicology, indicated that in China on the last Singles Day, as much as 90% of the $25 billion of sales went through mobile. Whereas the focus to date has been on responsive websites, he says the next step on involves adaptive sites that benefit from avoiding the former’s problem of compromises being made through fitting all the same data onto all the channels. 

One of the areas of growing interest on mobile is conversational commerce, which Miranda Clarke, strategic accounts manager at O2 Digital, says is being driven by the likes of Apple Business Chat, WhatsApp and bots that are being used to service customers.

“What were cost centres are now profit centres. We’re enabling clients - some of whom do not have a single customer view - to leverage the data they have and by putting in a new layer we can add in extra data sets to [enable retailers to] sell across these channels,” she says.

Clarke adds that if customers can communicate with retailers over these channels that they use naturally then people will be more likely to use them for purchasing goods as they do not have to go through the process of downloading a retailers’ app.

Such solutions are using the power of AI, which is on the agenda of Tress who says it will be handled step-by-step at Oliver Bonas. Such an approach was advocated by the panel with Lewis suggesting that the days of Big Bang style changes were over and that change has to be handled in bite-sized chunks.