"The world's my home when I'm mobile"
Forty years ago, the concept of "going mobile" had a very different meaning than it does today. In 1971, Pete Townshend of rock legends The Who, wrote and recorded a song entitled "Going Mobile". The lyrical message then was one of celebrating the joy of having a mobile home and travelling the open road at will. Today, mobile is the key component of the technology evolution of smartphones and tablets. The "always-on" "Black Friday" has grown to become the busiest shopping day of the year
and "always aware" nature of smart devices provides the users constant connectivity with the meaningful people, places, entertainment and things in their lives. It is also revolutionizing the way consumers interact with retailers and consumer brands.

In Canada there are 25.8 million mobile subscribers of which 40% are smartphone users. That number is expected to grow exponentially to 66% of all mobile subscribers by 2015. According to the Toronto research firm Solutions Research Group (SRG), 8 million Canadians used a smart device to help them shop during the month of May 2012. Consumers now use their smartphones to search for a specific retailer and their location, conduct "on the fly" price comparisons on a specific product while shopping and receive product information and reviews. They can also take a picture of a product and send it to friends on a social media site to ask for their opinions and buy recommendations.

The introduction of mobile coupons is another way that consumers are changing how they shop. The comScore research shows that 20% of smartphone users redeem mobile coupons and that the redemption rate is 10 times higher than that of traditional paper coupons. The most interesting finding is that 57% of shoppers would not have bought an item if they did not have a mobile coupon. The data also supports that 6% more mobile consumers were more likely to purchase from a store that had offered a mobile coupon than one that did not. Clearly, smartphones and the mobility factor are driving traffic, capturing customers and building brand loyalty.

The advent of mobility is also changing the in-store experience that now allows the consumer to have a shopping experience with the engagement of both social media and technology elements. This new m-commerce channel will not replace bricks and mortar or e-commerce but will be an additional consumer goods funnel. Mobility will influence how the retail industry must communicate, connect, market and sell products and services to the constantly connected consumer. The cycle has begun with smartphones and smarter consumers and now it is time for the smart retailers to sing along with The Who - "mobile, mobile, mobile, yeah!"


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