In light of today’s big news about Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods (and, within the same 24-hour span, the confirmation of Walmart’s acquisition of Bonobos) I thought I’d share two slides I presented as part of an intro to last year’s Mobile Shopping Connect conference in Palm Springs.
The first highlights the unique role mobile plays as the “linking agent” across every stage of the retail customer journey. Very much unlike traditional, desktop-centric ecommerce, mobile impacts everything, from “Discovery” to in-store shopping experiences to the post-purchase “Use” parts of the journey. Mobile may not be the primary influence at every step, but it is of primary importance to the totality of the experience.
Mobile may not be the primary influence at every step, but it is of primary importance to the totality of the experience.
The second puts it into dollars and cents perspective. From about 2005 to 2013, I had a front row seat watching how the gap between customer’s time spent on digital channels and advertiser’s usage of those channels narrowed (to the point that digital is now the majority of ad spend in many markets). I call it the “Meeker gap” because Mary Meeker famously reported on this stat each year in her widely-read report. These is a similar gap that exists today between time spent on mobile devices and mobile’s share of total media spend.
However, the Meeker gap palls in comparison to the much wider gap that exists between so-called “m-commerce” transactions (i.e. the dollar value of purchases made on a mobile device) and the amount of influence that mobile exerts on retail sales:
Forrester believes that more than a third of all retail sales are influence by mobile. Research by Google suggests the number may be every higher, as 79% of smartphone owners take a relevant on their phones in “I Want to Buy” moments.
Clearly, m-commerce is about way more than just buying things on a mobile device and as mobile payment, proximity-based analytics and other measurement techniques improve, it only become clearer that mobile is the keystone that bridges the physical and digital worlds.
Mobile is the keystone that bridges the physical and digital worlds.
Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods, like Walmart’s acquisition of Bonobos and Jet before that, might have been an interesting thought experiment in the desktop ecommerce era (and no doubt many investment bankers tried pitching all of these). But in the mobile era, where customers are already using pervasive mobile connectivity to integrate digital and physical themselves all the time, it’s happening for real and retail will never be the same.