Watch retailers must get ready for mobile shoppers

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By Marc Woodall

Even if you are not working at an internet retailer such as The Watch Hut, it is indisputable that the internet is an integral part of life for most of us.

In fact, recent government statistics suggest that around 8.3% of our entire economy is connected with Tim Berners-Lee’s wonderful creation.

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As a company, we feel that this growth is likely to continue as internet availability becomes more pervasive. Already technological developments such as the iPhone and tablet devices are bringing new users to our site, having brought the technology into the living room of most homes.

For a progressive retailer these trends open up entirely new markets. For instance, the public-transport-using commuter or the car-pooling passengers on their way to work are now instantly accessible.

Where once we would have had to hope they saw our advert, remembered its message and then acted on it at home, we can now make a sale whilst they sit in a train carriage or traffic jam.

An added benefit is that when internet enabled devices complete their homeward journey, two-screen households are also more likely to engage with our TV advertising.

We are also seeing peaks in mobile traffic on Saturdays suggesting that comparison shopping is taking place between bricks-and-mortar retailers and ourselves whilst customers are still walking the high street.

As you would expect, this is not totally about our future expectations. The Watch Hut has already seen a huge growth in traffic to our site through mobiles and tablets over the past year. The bulk of that traffic has originated from Apple products, so it is probably worth noting that the premium price of Apple products aligns their user base with those seeking designer watches. Android generated traffic is now growing too.

Traffic from mobile phones amounts to almost a fifth of our traffic. With the new high-speed 4G mobile phone networks due to come online in the next year then the right thing to do is to cater to those additional customers everywhere.

As we’re unable to offer a hands-on experience to our customers, internet retailers such as ourselves base their success on convenience, price and quality of service. If we can extend our convenience to buyers on the move then it makes sound business sense to do so.

This column was taken from the April 2012 issue of WatchPro magazine. To read a digital version of this issue online click here.

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