Portals Are Key for Retailers to Go Online and Go Mobile

Marina Astapchik
IT Trends Research Specialist
April 19, 2012

In today`s economy traditional marketing methods are getting obsolete. Those retailers whose competitive advantages are based solely on price or selection are at risk to lag behind the times, since the Internet and mobile technologies to a great extent neutralize them. To stand out from the crowd and delight consumers, retailers must utilize effective IT solutions.

Competitive imperative

Consumers no longer limit their shopping to a single channel. They can make purchases both in brick-and-mortar stores as well as in virtual marketplaces. By 2020, online sales are forecast to reach $500 billion. This is fueled by the accelerating use of mobile platforms for online shopping. In fact, merchants must be aware of the new digital landscape with around 4.5 billion mobile phones, 2.3 billion Internet users, and over 800 million active Facebook users. Therefore, the ability to provide a consistent and relevant experience to customers regardless of where, when and how they do shopping is a competitive imperative for retailers. This can be achieved by a centralized environment in the form of a web portal, where all the processes and information about customers, products, orders, and inventory are coordinated and managed

Key benefits

Creating a web portal is a key for retailers to meet consumer needs, improve productivity and realize strategic business initiatives. Portals help achieve the following tasks:

  • Integration of people, processes, applications and information.
  • More personalized, customized experience, based on context, actions, location and preferences.
  • Greater customer insight.
  • Seamless cross-channel shopping.
  • Optimized operational efficiency.
  • Real-time access to critical business data.
  • Increased effectiveness of marketing and promotional programs.
  • Intelligent and pro-active collaboration with trading partners and suppliers via the web.

Going mobile

Mobile platforms define the modern way of shopping. Consumers with smartphones use their mobile devices and mobile applications to help with shopping — to check product availability, compare prices, get more product information, identify alternatives, find complementary items, locate a store, etc. Offers become real-time and one-to-one, which creates much more value for consumers, as well as higher success rates for retailers.

Consumers' satisfaction and retailers' revenues

Choice and convenience are significant drivers in sales growth. Providing consumers with the flexibility to shop how and when they desire is one of the conditions for their returning. The increased loyalty leads to greater customer basket size and spending. In addition to that, the feelings of satisfaction and confidence about the purchases at a particular retailer can turn consumers into its advocates, and they will most probably praise its services when talking to friends and colleagues or sharing information in social media. Overall, by leveraging portal services, retailers can gain marketplace advantages and increase revenues.

Industries and Technology Areas:

Industries: retail, online shopping, software development, mobile application development

Technology Areas: software development, mobile application development, iPhone, iPad, iOS, Android, smartphone, tablet

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