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The mobile loyalty opportunity for retailers

As I sat among hundreds of participants at a recent conference, I conducted of quick visual survey of who was listening to the speaker and who was on their mobile device. Easily 2 out of every 3 people in my immediate vicinity were heads down doing the Blackberry prayer or downloading the latest apps on their iPods and iPads.

What a double-edged sword this new mobile reality represents for retailers! Potential customers can so easily be reached, but the ease afforded by that same mobile device now empowers them to seek out the best bargain in today's world of diminishing brand loyalty. According to Gartner, by 2013, mobile phones will be the #1 web access device for consumers.  This would mark a significant milestone in our evolution of information access, culminating in a mobile commerce age that combines ecommerce, instant loyalty marketing and mobile payments.

So the challenge for retailers today becomes how to drive consumers to their brick and mortar store and get them to make a purchase.  Is it enough to just get them through the door or will they simply stand in the retailer's Electronics department while accessing competitive pricing on their mobile device, quickly departing for greener pastures nearby or online?

Mobile technology is changing consumer behavior in commerce, banking and payments.  Retailers need to adapt as well, so they can know when a customer visits a store, recognize them for their loyalty and make reward redemption easy.

In the coming months, I'll be discussing the power of loyalty marketing as it relates to retailer environments with a focus on the emerging role loyalty and rewards management can have on the mobile consumer.

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