Retail TouchPoints: Mobile Could Be Real-Time Game-Changer For Black Friday Shopping
By Amanda F. Batista
Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion
is a summary of a current article from the Retail TouchPoints website.
Black Friday has traditionally kicked off the holiday shopping season by giving
consumers exciting in-store offers, this year, industry experts suggest the
real-time access consumers can find via smart phones could be a potential threat
to the usually-high expectation for in-store traffic.
The ability to “wait
and see,” or capitalize on the online deal
assortments via Cyber Monday, has previously been available, but the mobile
phone is giving customers an additional channel through which to search, compare
“Mobile is probably the most interesting and game-changing technology
going to and is hitting retail, and will do so for the next decade,” said
Fiona Dias, EVP of strategy & marketing, GSI Commerce. “We’re
just starting to wrap our minds on how it totally changes retail store shopping,
but it’s both exciting and frightening.”
Ms. Dias said that although
it’s a great game-changer as customers are empowered with web site information
now at the point of purchase, mobile still has its drawbacks. Pointing to a
“crowd intelligence” concept, Ms. Dias said shoppers will navigate in groups
and leverage social networks like Twitter to inform their network of friends
about out of stocks via mobile.
“The power that customers are going to have to change their purchase
decision on the fly [on Black Friday] is going to make it very difficult for
retailers to keep people in line at their stores,” Ms. Dias said.
provider of web, mobile applications, kiosk and assisted solutions has launched
16 retail mobile web sites and features in time for the holidays. Macy’s,
Crate & Barrel and Neiman Marcus are motivating customers with “wish
lists” and “gift registries” to expand the functionality
of m-commerce sites.
“This idea of productivity — [being able] to compare prices without
having to go to mortar stores — that’s an important aspect of [Black
Friday shopping],” said Jason Taylor, VP global product strategy, Usablenet.
“Retailers have to target those people while shopping, with coupons or special
offers for a particular time. What might be interesting in mobile is the instant
ability to get information.”
Discussion Questions: How do you think mobile phone technologies may affect
Black Friday or Cyber Monday, whether this upcoming holiday or in the future?