Digital Commerce in Retail

Mobile technologies and services can transform the way people shop. Consumers can use smartphones to look up product information, run price comparisons and even make online purchases while browsing on a high street or in a store. In some cases, shoppers are using bricks and mortar retailers as showrooms to evaluate products that they then buy from online retailers.

In response, some retailers are combining their online, mobile and bricks and mortar businesses and sending consumers personalised news and offers designed to entice them into their stores. Retailers are also using mobile apps to showcase new products and services, guide shoppers around a store, deliver rewards and complete transactions, thereby forging richer, deeper relationships with their customers.

Consumer demand for digital commerce

Consumers are keen to engage with retailers through their mobile phones, according to surveys. For example, 60% of the UK and American smartphone owners surveyed by research firm Latitude said they are spurred to shop or make a purchase at least once a week because they’ve received a mobile alert (such as an email, text message, or app notification) from a brand or retailer. Latitude found that these alerts work best when they are location-based and related to a product or service the consumer has professed an interest in.

The role of mobile operators

Mobile operators around the world are working with retailers, loyalty providers, equipment vendors and various ecosystems to rollout mobile services designed to support retailers’ digital commerce activities. In many cases, mobile operators are providing a mobile wallet – a specialist application that can store digital versions of payment cards, loyalty cards, vouchers, tickets and other items normally found in a physical wallet.

To build a broad and vibrant digital commerce ecosystem, mobile operators are also engaging with the relevant actors in their markets, including local and national governments, transportation bodies, banks, retailers and other stakeholders.

At the same time, the GSMA is working with regulators and service providers in other sectors to develop and support the sophisticated ecosystems needed to underpin the global roll out of digital commerce. The successful launch of sophisticated propositions requires the mobile industry and the retail sector to collaborate and adopt common practice to ensure that the services put in place are fully interoperable, thereby paving the way for future growth.

Resources and information

For further information on the GSMA’s work in retail, please visit our Resources and Information page.

Contact us

For more information, please contact Digital Commerce at the GSMA. GSMA Members can visit the GSMA Infocentre to access information on the working groups involved.


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