More than a billion users to buy physical goods, services using smartphones by 2016

Informa study finds large retailers are integrating mobile into their in-store, online and call-center operations

More than a billion users will be buying physical goods and services using their mobile phones by 2016, forecasts research firm Informa Telecoms & Media.

Most retailers are reporting that there is strong growth in the traffic to their sites coming from mobile devices, and many believe that mobile will have the biggest impact on their business in the next two to five years, the research firm notes.

To tap into this demand, large retailers are making significant investments to integrate mobile into their in-store, online and call-center operations, according to Informa.

U.S. retailer Walmart and U.K. retailer Marks & Spencer (M&S) are developing in-house expertise and resources to support their mobile strategies, while other retailers are outsourcing their mobile integration needs to firms providing managed mobile services.

"Being accessible across the variety of channels is becoming increasingly important for retailers. Retailers that proactively provide up-to-date information about their products, services, prices and store locations on mobile devices will benefit from first-mover advantages," observes Shailendra Pandey, Informa analyst and author of the report.

Pandey cites the example of Argos and eBay, which have inked a partnership where online shoppers can order items from eBay and pick them up from Argos shops. This indicates the growing need to offer greater convenience and multiple fulfillment options to their customers.

Shoppers are increasingly using their smartphones to locate stores, read product reviews, conduct price comparison and receive discount coupons. Retailers that embrace mobile in a "smart and timely manner" will gain a competitive advantage, Pandey relates.

For more:
- see Informa's release

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