Retail trends to watch in 2016; Mobile First and Digital Strategy

This article excerpt originally appeared here

The retail industry no longer looks at omnichannel as a revelation, in fact, the term has become somewhat ordinary within the industry. In 2016, the rise of mobile devices and accessibility will see retailers accelerate to mobile-first strategies, alongside other new growing technologies relevant to both the in-store and online experience.

Note: See an in-depth definition of “omnichannel”



According to a Forrester report, by 2017 the number of mobile phone users will have reached 4.8 billion, with 46% of these smartphone users. In the US, 1/3 of all sales will have a mobile element, from product research to an instore experience. Media goods (e.g., video, music, books), clothing, and consumer electronics account for the majority of the approximately $142 billion in mobile phone and tablet eCommerce sales. Other categories such as travel and food-services/restaurant ordering, are not part of Forrester’s definition of online retail.

This blends into a new focus, a mobile first mind-set.

Mobile first, therefore, encompasses an approach purposefully defined for mobile devices only, before linear investments into more traditional devices will be committed to, desktops and laptops, for instance. This requires a new strategy that covers design, user experience, and the development of the interface itself that places handheld devices at the forefront of efforts. By doing this, users will be able to browse products and solutions that have been created solely for mobile access.

As the expectations of consumers consistently evolve, retailers must be willing to explore latest technologies that introduce new levels of convenience and accessibility.



As retailers commit further to digital investments, it goes without saying that defining a clear strategy behind this is paramount. Beneficially, marketers are able to bring with them experience and know-how from more traditional channels and combine their skillsets positively with the additional benefits of new technology.

The evolution of mobile management will take a turn from what we have perceived as the norm up until now. Desktop or laptop strategies based on the click of a mouse and keyboard will be joined by mobile platforms, designed for touch and gesture interactions. Traditional means of marketing such as emails, websites and everything involved with them, social media, etc., will see reshuffles to cater for new modes of accessibility. User experience must incorporate a few considerations, for instance, the context, behavior, audience, and targeted behavior after engagement.

Digital media spending is moving at an alarming speed, far quicker than more conventional digital products and services. Mckinsey foresees that by 2019 digital media spending is set to hit $2.1 trillion, up $1.6 on 2014’s figure. Alongside this, digital advertising was the fastest growing category in 2014, and within this, retailers must continue their transition into digital marketing avenues to utilize the opportunities created by the digital revolution.

From now on, marketing will be less impeded by device and platform, it’s the content and UX that will be under the spotlight. Power is truly in the palms of the consumer, and those who are to take advantage will be those able to embrace a data-driven era, to power innovation and progression.