In 2011, post holiday data revealed that brick and mortar retail lost a full 5% of their sales to people who bought an item or similar item on their smartphone while in the retail store. This created a great opportunity for retail to engage their mobile shoppers. Some, like Best Buy and Walmart embraced this "showrooming" behavior, with Walmart even inviting shoppers to do so in their 2012 holiday TV ads.
Unfortunately many retailers ignored the opportunity, instead seeking ways to block showrooming and let the year go by unprepared. Early data from 2012 indicates that mobile may have delivered a staggering blow to those retailers, with initial data showing lowest growth since 2009 (0.7%). While some are jumping to a negative conclusion about consumer spending, a broader look at the data is more revealing:
Comscore reported online sales were up over 16% year over year with multiple billion-dollar sales days. More importantly, mobile shopping increased by 70% this year. Of course, we will see more definitive data in the next 6-8 weeks, but likely these lackluster retail sales were not the result of poor spending by shoppers, but by shoppers spending differently.
The time to create and implement an integrated mobile marketing plan is now. If you think you only have to plan for next holiday, you may want to take note of this compelling story: Nearly 3 times the smartphone activations on Christmas day than last year. That is 17.4 million device activations in a single day. Based on current behavioral data, that means there are about 10.4 million new smartphone shoppers.
Are they yours?