Mobile: the high street’s digital elixir

31st March 2015

We’ve become a nation of addicts…when it comes to mobile devices that is. 85% of people who say that mobile devices are a central part of everyday life. Smartphones have therefore become a portal of opportunity for brands and retailers to connect, engage and convert consumer activity into sales.

According the Great British High Street report released by the Digital Advisory Board, six in 10 adults now use mobile phones to access the internet on the move and more than £150bn of sales have become influenced by digital. Concerned by the fact that not enough is being done to meet customers’ digital expectations when shopping on the high street, the board, made up of retailers, private businesses, trade bodies and public sector divisions suggested that failure to improve the digital retail experience will subsequently mean missing out on up to £12billion in sales every year.

The report outlines four major initiatives that need to take place in a bid to transform the high street by 2020. The blueprint for success includes goals to improve infrastructure to provide sufficient access to the internet; closing the digital skills gap; creating a digital lab for the high street to aggregate available technologies and tools as well as a high street digital health index to understand retailers competitiveness and economic value.

While a stellar plan, this blueprint fails to incorporate a key remedy for retailers to connect the physical and digital worlds – the mobile device. The report helps create an environment for consumers to seamlessly connect and enjoy an online shopping experience on the go. It also addresses the need for mobile responsive websites and Wi-Fi as well as the need to educate staff about the digital channels available. But what about capturing consumers while they are in the moment, walking past the physical store on the high street? It is important to start thinking through and understanding behaviours and trends that link the device to the real-world shopping experience.

There are three things that need to underpin this five year plan:

Invest in impact: Look at what technologies are useful to shoppers and also those that have the potential to become useful to them. Popularity accelerates adoption and things only become popular when they prove to enrich someone’s everyday experience. Mobile proximity and contactless payments technologies are proving popular because they actively involve a consumer via their smartphone from the moment they walk past a store, right up to the point of payment.

Educate the enablers: In-store staff are a retailer’s ambassadors on the front line. They need to be excited about the technology as they will help drive adoption. They need to be able to answer questions, demonstrate how to use proximity technologies and highlight the benefits. Marketing efforts and messages therefore need to be consistent across channels and throughout the customer journey.

Make use of data: In this day and age, personalising the shopping experience is essential to connect and engage with consumers to be in with a chance of converting this interest into sales. Retailers have a host of data at their disposal which can help drive intelligent decisions about how to personalise a consumer’s experience via their smartphone. This is where beacon technology is seeing the most traction as it enables retailers to use this data and connect with a shopper while they are in the moment.

Find out more about how to make the most of mobile in 2015, from our CEO of Proximity Marketing, Jon Worley here.



Jon Worley, CEO of Proxama Marketing