The National Retail Federation’s “Big Show,”NRF 103rd Annual Convention & Expo, in New York City January12-15 was action packed, and many of the sessions were filled withvaluable insights and recommendations for the future of retailcommerce and payments. Below are highlights on two sessions thatfocused on best practices using emerging payments technology. See the previousMercator Advisory Group Perspective on the themes of the NRFConvention & Expo.
Mobile Innovation as a Roadmap to Customer Successwas an excellent session featuring a panel of key decision makersfrom eBay, Toys “R” Us, and FitForCommerce. The eBay representativetalked about how important “Mobile” has become for eBay and itssubsidiaries, especially PayPal. He offered some interesting factson eBay:
- eBay mobile sales will top $20 billion in 2014. In addition, PayPalwill process $20 billion in mobile payments in 2014.
- One-third of all transactions at eBay are now viamobile.
- 79% of clients have expressed a desire for mobilecoupons.
- Digital services and tickets are the number 2purchase on eBay, following clothing.
- eBay finds it has less than 6 seconds to convince customers toinitiate a purchase before they lose interest and move on to usingtheir smartphone for other purposes
- Adding the BUY IT NOW button at the bottom and topof the product view screen created a 30% jump in incrementalsales.
- Cross-channel development is very important sinceengaging in one channel and continuing or finishing in another isvery common these days, especially among the youngerdemographic.
- Consumers use smartphone differently from tablet.Smartphone interactions tend to be quick throughout the day,increasingly for product research and payments. Tablets aregenerally used in the evenings and weekends (albeit usage at workis also growing); the tablet’s richer imagery and responsive designlends it to browsing and buying.
- Tips to retailers for mobilizing their websites include rapidmobile site page load, high-quality graphics, no scrolling, easycheckout. Product search should be superb with same products onlineas in-store and with a QR/bar code reader. Checkout should be onproduct pages and should be easy with checkout button at both topand bottom of page, only limited data entry required, and paymentservices with stored credentials as well as guestcheckout.
- Same-day delivery is key for success, and thepractice will get more pronounced in 2014 and 2015.
- It is important for retailers to begin developing an omnichanneland digital strategy now since the technology development processis fairly complex and long.
- Mobile rewards to drive additional spend is also akey development requirement for all retailers.
Beyond Borders: Lessons in Retail Expansion, asession on day 3 of the NRF show, offered valuable insights forglobal commerce. The speakers were executives from Deloitte,Claire’s, and Tom’s who discussed their experiences in developing aglobal market strategy and offered advice on how to approach andwin in the global market. They noted that a “lift and shift”approach from domestic to global markets generally does not work.It is very important to develop a “glocal”strategy. This means that since consumer needs, shopping,regulations, and economic trends differ from region toregion, strategy for each region of the world needs to bedeveloped from a local perspective. Ensuring brandintegrity is also crucial for success in the globalmarkets.
The panelists recommended that retailers evaluate the competitivelandscape, understand the local economic and regulatory situation,determine a market entry approach, and develop a digitalstrategy for global expansion. A good global expansionstrategy by retailers or merchants would include determining growthobjectives that depend on home market saturation, free cash flow tofund investment in the short and long term, scalable corecapabilities, available management resources, determining risktolerance, understanding consumer demand for their brand and sizingthe growth rate of the market. The keys to success for asuccessful global strategy are as follows:
- Do the research
- Think “glocal.”
- Blend expertise with brand experts.
- Stay flexible and nimble.
- Pick the right partners.
- Think digital AND physical.
- Expect the unexpected