Mobile retail to hit $700 billion

Summary:No Mae, that's not a banana, nor am I happy to see you. That's a cash register in my pocket.

The bawdy comedienne and actress Mae West famously asked, "Is that a banana in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?"

Sorry, Mae, but the answer is "none of the above." Actually, that's a cash register I'm slinging around in my Levi's, or so it would seem from recent mobile commerce estimates out of Juniper Research.

Mobile devices including smartphones and tablets will rack up $707 billion in global e-commerce sales in 2018, when they will account for 30 percent of all online retail, or "eRetail" as Juniper calls it. Last year mobile devices rang up $182 billion, or 15 percent, U.K.-based Juniper said.

Consumers will actually make a lot of these purchases in physical stores, where they will use their phones to comparison shop and buy cheaper products online - a practice that Juniper refers to as "showrooming."

Juniper's Windsor Holden notes that stores should thus deploy in-store tables with "mobile Point of Sale" (mPOS) software that allows shoppers to compare and buy right then and there.
 
"This means that not only is the retailer proactively offering the consumer the opportunity to price check in-store, but that the purchase can be made immediately, without having to queue elsewhere in the store," Holden says.

Sounds like a clever meshing of modern cyber behavior with people's old habit of wanting to physically handle a product before buying. Retailers could borrow from another of Mae's classic lines, and invite cyber junkies to come up and see them sometime.

Cover photo is from androidios.com

More mobile trends on SmartPlanet:

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

Topics: Innovation

About

Mark Halper has written for TIME, Fortune, Financial Times, the UK's Independent on Sunday, Forbes, New York Times, Wired, Variety and The Guardian. He is based in Bristol, U.K. Follow him on Twitter.

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