I want you to think about the following statement and the impact of Mobile on physical storefronts:
Based on millions of transactions conducted on the Digby Mobile Platform during 2011, “Find a Store” is used approximately 63 times (!!) more than “Place an Order” for multi-channel retailers.
As you know, Digby builds mobile storefronts for retailers, both mobile web sites and rich applications for iPhone, Android and BlackBerry. Everyone thinks that the most important number to think about is “sales” through the mobile device, ie. mobile as a strategic new sales channel. However, the data above supports the notion that mobile truly is the bridge between online and offline. Sure it’s also a channel, but looking at it as exclusively a sales channel misses the point. For retailers who are invested in physical storefronts, enabling a search, browse and “buy” is critical, but this data suggests that search, browse, and “Find a Store” is a significant order of magnitude more important.
That’s an incredible stat frankly. Contrary to what “pure play” e-commerce advocates would have you believe, physical stores are as important as ever for consumers. They are not just “off-balance sheet showrooms” for online commerce businesses. Buying physical products is still a highly tactile experience – consumers like to see and touch and physically experience many products before they buy them. Combine this with the next logical step: a retailer’s branded Application that can deliver “in-store engagement” with use cases like store check-in, location based promotional messaging, bar–code scanning for product discovery and store exit surveys. Retailers who get it right at this incredibly dynamic intersection of retail and mobile will be the big winners as these trends accelerate.
David Sikora, the CEO and Founder of Digby founded the company in 2006, with a goal to accelerate the convergence of mobility and electronic commerce.