3 Mobile Trends Making Waves in the U.S. — and What Retailers Should Do About Them

mobilestrategyWe live in an increasingly mobile world. Pretty much everyone has (and spends a great deal of time on) a cell phone, and devices like tablets and smartwatches are prominent features of today’s society. It’s no surprise, then, that for several years now mobile technology has been one of the biggest and fastest-growing trends in the retail world — something that’s perhaps most true in the United States, where much of this technology is pioneered or widely tested.

So why should you care about mobile trends? Let’s take a look at some statistics.

According to this report from Google, “45 percent of customers research their potential purchases on mobile apps.” And this Smart Insights piece? It says “those who shop via mobile spend 66 percent more than shoppers who only buy in store.”

These numbers are big, and it’s safe to say they’ll only continue to grow. Here, we’ve outlined three key trends on the rise in the U.S., as well as some quick tips to help you take advantage of their potential.

Mobile payments

What’s the point of all our fancy technology if it can’t help us save time when we’re shopping? Consumers are increasingly looking to retailers for convenient payment options that don’t involve waiting in line at the cash register — and retailers are responding with custom apps, adoption of mobile wallets, and cloud-based systems that allow customers to bypass checkout lines to complete their purchases.

Mobile payments are one of the biggest trends in retail at the moment (PYMNTS.com even said they’ll “kill countertop checkout”), with business giants such as Starbucks, Target, and Walmart implementing quick, easy solutions for their customers.

Quick tip: If it makes sense for you, consider introducing “buy online and pick up in-store” within your business. The same PYMNTS.com piece calls it “the hottest trend in retail” and says “retailers love it since the vast majority of consumers — 60 percent according to RetailNext — spend more when they get to the store to pick up their loot.”

If in-store pickup isn’t a great option for you, look into other ways to minimize your customers’ time in the checkout line. The more efficient your payment process is, the happier they’ll be — and happy customers are more inclined to shop with you again.

Location-based technology

One of the best ways to target the 61% of shoppers who say they “expect to use their smartphones more in-store”? Location-based technology.

Using devices such as beacons, retailers can pinpoint shoppers using their mobile devices in physical shops and push tailored messages, promotions, and mobile-specific loyalty programs to their phones, tablets, or wearables (such as watches).

The numbers surrounding beacons and proximity marketing are huge; Business Insider’s BI Intelligence estimated that beacons would influence nearly $45 billion USD of in-store retail sales in 2016, and retailers such as Urban Outfitters, Macy’s, Neiman Marcus, and Best Buy have implemented them in their stores.

Location-based technology has the potential to create a seamless customer experience, to elevate your brand in the eyes of consumers, and to propel your business into the future — but it’s important to be mindful of the potential risks, such as security breaches and personal privacy infringement.

Quick tip: Don’t underestimate the value of location-based technology. Invest in whichever kind will work for you (in addition to beacons, options include Wi-Fi, RFID, and GPS), and use it to give customers more enjoyable experiences. Some ideas? Reward them with 15% percent off every third time they visit your store, or detail the cool new features of your just-in products.


We’ve all seen it happen: one minute you’re looking at a pair of headphones on Amazon, and the next you’re seeing an ad for that exact product on your Facebook feed. That’s obviously personalized advertising, but it speaks to a greater mobile trend within the retail world.

The personalization of the customer experience has become a hot topic in the industry as retailers do everything they can to stand out to consumers amongst an increasingly competitive field. As American Express puts it, “the more personalized a shopping experience you offer, the more shoppers may want to buy from you.”

After all, everyone wants to feel special, right? If you can make a customer feel as though he’s separate from the masses, he’s more likely to want to engage with your business and its products.

The key to personalization, of course, is data — because “the more you know about your customers, the more precise you can be in your marketing.”

According to an Accenture Interactive study on personalization, “56% of consumers are more likely to shop at a retailer in store or online that recognizes them by name,” and “remembering purchase histories will win over 65% of shoppers.”

So how can retailers leverage data to create more personalized experiences?

Quick tip: Come up with non-invasive ways to get more data from your customers. Ask for an email address at checkout, or collect information through your POS system. Once you have the data, put it into action. Craft targeted marketing campaigns, send discount codes and exclusive offers on special dates such as birthdays, and use purchase histories to let customers know when their favorite products are back in stock or on sale.

Head to the comments to let us know how you’ll be taking advantage of these mobile trends!

About Nikki Michaels

Nikki is Vend's content and copy wizard. American-born and Auckland-based, she's into reading (a lot), writing (obviously), and travelling (always).

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