The digital space is driving change, particularly the face of business, a technology specialist says.
With up 60 per cent of people living in New Zealand expected to have a smartphone by the end of the year and with 64 per cent of Kiwis with a Facebook account, retailers can no longer ignore the potential for boosting sales, said Gareth O'Connor, business director at media agency Carat NZ.
He told delegates at the Property Council retail conference in Auckland today that the top five users of mobile technology in the United States were restaurants, professional sales, health and wellness, travel and tourism and the car and transportation sectors.
The pervasiveness of mobile commerce has become evident not only in entertainment - 125 years of the cult game Angry Birds are now played on mobiles every day - but also in retail with 73 per cent of the US's top retailers now engaging in "m-commerce".
US data also showed 82 per cent of mobile users booked an offer within a day of its arrival compared to just 45 per cent receiving the same offer via their computer.
Today, one in three US retailers have a mobile offering. The power of mobile apps was also growing exponentially.
O'Connor cited one app used by the giant US retail chain Walmart which instantly knew a customer's buying history. He told of how the store knew a young female customer was pregnant before her distraught parents did - because of her purchasing habits.
One large furniture store in the US was also offering AR - or augmented reality - apps which allowed customers to view real images of store furniture in their own home settings. Shoe stores were also using the app.
The reality about the digital space, O'Connor says, is that the consumer is in control and that every touch point - whether mobile, online or in store - represented a potential sale.
Retailers had to make sure their touch points were unforgettable experiences and talked about.
"And sort out your websites," O'Connor said.
- © Fairfax NZ News
Do you check your smartphone in bed?Related story: Smartphone etiquette - should you take it to bed?