Another excellent event put together by Retail Bulletin.
The top message was that mobile is seen as the vehicle that linked together on-line
and off-line channels and enables multichannel integration.  One speaker actually called mobile the saviour of bricks and mortar stores!  Other common themes were:  QR codes, trial things quickly, focus on customers, iPod & Pads and channel integration.
Here are my notes on some individual speakers.
Kenny Ball, IT Director, Schuh
Major success of click and reserve in store. Customer only pays when they collect. 40% of reserved products are purchased. Often alternative products or sizes are bought along with accessories.
Big things for 2012

  • Wireless in every store
  • iPods and iPads for all staff
  • Channels are blurring
  • QR codes linked to stock availability
  • Don’t try to answers every question before putting in technology. You won’t get them right and you will be slow to market. If things don’t work take them out.

Neil Lewis, Head of New Channel Development, M&S

  • M&S are mapping every step of a customer’s journey
  • Multichannel is about reducing pain points for customers without KPI’s creating unexpected consequences
  • Trial everything quickly
  • Customers always do different things than were expected
  • QR codes will be most universal device because others are still niche

Steve Brockway, Research Director, eDigital

  • Customers who shop more than one channel are worth 4 times more
  • Highest rated mobile sites are: Amazon, ASOS, Next, Tesco and Asda
  • Customers start with mobile web then move to mobile App
  • Debenhams best mobile site for fashion
  • Key barrier to more ordering via mobile is not being recognised and having to repeat details already held. Amazon overcomes this issue best.
  • Information that customers want from their mobile are: Appropriate offers, stock availability and price.

Jon Asbury, Multichannel Development, Manager Halfords

  • 50-60% of customers use smartphones
  • Mobile sales up from 15% to 20%. Can go over 30% when the store is closed. (The connection was not as strong on the website.)
  • Scan a QR code and put in registration number to get right battery, bulbs and wiper type etc for your car
  • The big thing in 2012 with be QR codes because they are so flexible

Adrian Stalham, head of Multichannel, Everything Everywhere

  • Exceeding expectation does not deliver more loyalty
  • Customer satisfaction scores are of limited value. The best question is “How easy are we to do business with?”
  • Many customers feel safer with the mobile operator taking the money for goods bought on the phone and adding it to the mobile bill rather than via card on the phone
  • 14% of sales are Click and Collect
  • Customers use Click and Collect while in stores to get to the head of the queue
  • Don’t always match prices – learn how to justify price differences
  • Customer Experience is part of Operations not Marketing
  • All channels report to the same person
  • Plan to disband your Multichannel team  in 2 years – it won’t be needed

Patrick Munden, Head of Seller Communications eBay Europe

  • 170 brands on eBay today
  • At the Fashion Outlet 64% sold at full price as opposed to auction
  • Daily deal on electricals very successful
  • Mobile is the link between online and offline
  • Customers are “snacking” on data during the day and actually buy in the evening
  • 10% of global eBay sales on mobile
  • Need to take the “e” out of ecommerce
  • Features start on mobile site and migrate to main site

Hayley Meenan-Wilkin, Head of Web Operations, Tesco

  • Searchable merchandising next big thing for websites. This enable items to be displayed in order of profitability and for example big coats moved to the top when it gets colder.
  • The website becomes the Flagship Store
  • Wireless everywhere
  • More theatre and informational signs required in stores eg Product available on Click & Collect
  • ROI on Facebook “Likes” very hard to justify