User Friendly

It’s not often that a new technology comes along that consumers are willing and eager to use. Just about all of the major technology breakthroughs over the past few decades required some sort of change management among shoppers.

Self-checkouts are a prime example. While they add convenience, shoppers first had to learn how to use them. Same goes for digital information kiosks. Even online shopping websites required some consumers – mostly older generations – to learn them before using them.

With mobile applications, the reverse is true; most consumers have been using the iPhones and smartphones long before grocers have created apps for them. According to comScore, 74.6 million people in the U.S. owned smartphones in April 2011, up 13 percent from January 2011 – just three months earlier. What’s more, these consumers enjoy using them. Indeed, many see their smartphones as much of a source of entertainment as a source of communication. I see this all the time on my train ride home from work or when traveling by air – people engaged with their mobile devices, watching movies, playing video games, or working through a challenging Sudoku board.

We love using our phones.

Which is why every retailer should have a mobile strategy in place. Every retailer. Your shoppers have already embraced the technology, so there is really no learning curve, and Nielsen predicts smartphone use to overtake feature phone use by the end of this year, so there’s a good chance that wherever you are, at least half of your shoppers will be app-ready.

I myself, already a Samsung Galaxy Tablet owner, will be getting a new smartphone this week – either an iPhone 4 or a Motorola Atrix, which is like a small laptop itself.

So if you haven’t launched your mobile strategy yet, get started – you’re already behind!


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