NRF flew by in a flash, but if you were there you may have spotted some of our people canvassing the exhibit hall with an iPad-based retailer survey. “Retail’s BIG Show” provided a unique opportunity to collect some insight from attendees about their priorities and plans for 2012. We caught up with 740 of those attendees, and asked three key questions about their mobile, tablet and social commerce plans for 2012. Here’s what we found:
81% focused on tablet commerce
81% percent of respondents believe tablet commerce to be either somewhat important or critical in the coming year. It’s no surprise, with 87 percent of tablet owners using their tablets to shop this past holiday, that retailers are recognizing this urgent need to reach and capture the exploding market of consumers shopping on their tablets.
Retailers split on Facebook…
The importance of Facebook commerce is hotly debated in the industry, and this split was also reflected among NRF attendees. We predict this balance to shift considerably in favor of prioritizing Facebook commerce, given the moves we see both Facebook and retailers taking to monetize brand presence on the social network. There has been much discussion about the value of turning today’s simple brand pages into revenue generating storefronts. While Facebook is in the early stages of this evolution, we believe we’ll be seeing a strong trend toward conducting commerce on Facebook this year, as some early movers like Express are already doing.
Two-thirds of respondents are upping their mobile budgets
Finally, we also asked NRF attendees how their companies are investing in mobile this coming year. With 67 percent working with an increased budget for mobile this year, retailers and brands have recognized mobile is no longer a “nice to have” channel. In addition to looking at mobile payment options and optimizing for the smaller smartphone screen, we also see tablets as having a huge impact on this result, particularly for brands that may not have seen as much value in mobile browsing. Where their customers may not be likely to do a lot of browsing on a smartphone, tablet browsing has widened the field considerably, giving retailers the ability to present a much more powerful mobile shopping experience.
Our takeIt’s clear that 2012 will be the year of tablet, mobile, and social commerce for retailers as they assess, evaluate and plan for each of these critical channels. Retailers must move beyond thinking of social as checking the boxes on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube – and treating their social channels as no more than extended blogs. It’s time for them to seize the untapped revenue opportunity in every channel, and to treat every customer touchpoint as its own storefront. Savvy retailers will spend 2012 building consistently-branded, richly compelling customer experiences that optimize the performance of every channel in the e-commerce ecosystem.