November 22, 2010
Target was just named the "2010 Mobile Retailer of the Year" by Mobile Commerce Daily (see article). Hard to believe eBay wasn't in the top three with their anticipated $1.5B revenue on the mobile channel this year, but they won last year. This speaks to the fact that it isn't just about revenue. In fact, among companies we've surveyed, offering convenient services to customers to engage them more, improve satisfaction and loyalty, etc. top the list of near-term objectives. If the services aren't convenient (see research), consumers will not adopt and use the services. If this doesn't happen, companies won't see the revenue growth or cost savings they are anticipating.
One of the top questions I get from clients is, "Who is best in class?" Any of these three retailers could take that honor. What really impresses me about Target is their breadth of innovative services, the quality of the experience, and to top it off . . . they sell to mainstream America. My favorite service: building a shopping list with the bar-code-scanning technology. Remember that example we've all heard about the smart refrigerator? You remove and throw the empty milk carton out, and "milk" is automatically added to your shopping list. This doesn't do that exactly, but it comes closer than any other application I know. There is also tremendous consistency in experience from online to mobile Web to the applications — at times, it is so good that it's indistinguishable.
Pretty impressive given that Amazon.com took second place and Best Buy third place. Both Amazon and Best Buy have a more savvy audience when it comes to their use of mobile devices. Both sell a lot of products that fall into the sweet spot for mobile — consumer electronics (one of the top activities for consumers on mobile devices around commerce is price comparisons, especially in the CE cateogry) and books/DVDs. I think Amazon does a lot of really cool things with mobile, ranging from the Kindle with its content synching across devices and applications as well as its SnapTell acquisition — the photo and/or bar-code scanning used to link customers to real-time content on local pricing, reviews, and previews. Love their mobile services. Re Best Buy, lots of great stuff here, too. What stands out for me is their third-party partnerships strategies. They do a lot on their own, but make great use of third parties for additional reach and distribution. They were one of the first, for example, to launch with shopkick.