The Importance of Mobile Commerce for Retailers

Shopping on a Smartphone


by Bonnie McEwan  

Retail is Going Mobile

The latest trend in retailing is m-commerce, in which the ‘m’ stands for mobile. Increasingly, customers are making purchases directly from smart phones. According to Forrester Research, retail sales made on smart phones reached $8 billion in 2012, comprising 3% of total e-commerce sales. For 2013, Forrester predicts that smart phone sales will rise to $12 billion (5% of total e-commerce) and in 2014 $17 billion (6% of total e-commerce). By 2017, m-commerce is expected to account for $31 billion, about 9% of the entire e-commerce market.

Why is Mobile Going Global?

These m-commerce customers told the survey firm comScore that they buy with their smart phones for a variety of reasons. The top four were:

  • On-the-go convenience, cited by 63% of respondents
  • To get special offers and coupons — 52% of respondents
  • Ease of comparing prices to find best deal — 48% of respondents
  • Product was not found in a brick and mortar store — 41% of resondents

What Retailers Can Do About It

This preference for m-commerce has some significant implications for retailers:

  1. You must be sure that your website — in this situation, referred to as a mobile site — is optimized for the small screen, whose average size is about 2.5 x 3 inches.
  2. You should also offer free ‘apps’ — short for applications — for all the major smart phone operating systems. [An app is a small piece of software that is downloaded to a mobile device to facilitate online activities.] Pay special attention to developing a good app for Apple’s iOS, since iPhone owners do substantially more mobile shopping than owners of other brands.
  3. You may also want to investigate selling watches and other products via a virtual store within one or both of the two most heavily trafficked m-commerce sites, eBay and Amazon. Consider this: eBay receives 6,400 unique monthly visitors, each of whom visits the site an average of 7.5 times for an average of 10 minutes per visit. Amazon is close behind, with 5,824 unique monthly visitors, each of whom visits an average of 5.6 times per month and remains on the site for about10 minutes. Some major retailers sell on these sites, including Target on Amazon and Brookstone on eBay.
  4. If you sell retail from temporary locations, such as outdoor kiosks, pop-up stores or Christmas village shops, there are m-commerce products for your smart phone that make selling more convenient. For example, a company called Square makes a small device that attaches to your smart phone and enables it to take credit cards. There’s no need for card machines or electrical access. Just slide the customer’s card through the Square device. It will record the sale, send an electronic receipt to the customer’s phone and that’s it.


An interesting mobile development for watch retailers is the budding popularity of smart watches, which are predicted to be big for 2013 holiday gift-giving. Several brands are already on the market, although there aren’t many apps available at this point. You can read all about the new smart watches at SmartWatchNews.org, and perhaps be one of the first retailers to create an app for these novel devices. (Very Dick Tracy.)

About Gevril Group

Gevril GroupGevril Group is the exclusive US representative for select European watch brands, distributing and servicing luxury, fashion and sports timepieces at a wide range of price points. Gevril Group also operates a full-service watch repair department staffed by master Swiss watchmakers. Contact Gevril Group by email or by calling 845-425-9882.

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US Postal Service and Amazon Team Up to Inaugurate Sunday Deliveries

Amazon Delivery


by John Sealander  

Amazon Makes Two-Day Deliveries a 24/7 Promise

AmazonFor the first time ever, the world’s largest Internet retailer will now be delivering orders on Sunday. In an unprecedented partnership with the US Postal Service, Amazon.com has started offering its online customers Sunday deliveries in select US markets. The new Sunday delivery service has already arrived in New York and Los Angeles, and Amazon plans to expand it to a large portion of the US population in 2014, including Dallas, Houston, New Orleans and Phoenix.

Members of Amazon’s popular Prime Service will pay nothing extra for this new delivery option. They can now buy products on Friday and get Sunday delivery for free. Non-Prime members can also take advantage of free Sunday delivery on orders of at least $35.

Saving the US Postal Service?

This innovative partnership with Amazon is a welcome new source of revenue for the financially struggling US Postal Service. The fastest growing segment of our business is the package business,” Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe said. “The future of package delivery is a seven-day-a-week schedule. We’ve got the capacity to do it.”

Could private companies like Amazon help the US Postal Service become profitable again? It’s entirely possible. The postal service already expects to deliver 420 million packages this holiday season. This represents a 12% increase over last year, and the new partnership with Amazon could significantly increase these numbers.

Amazon Getting Even Quicker

Amazon is committed to service. It has been spending billions of dollars building new warehouses around the world so it can deliver products more quickly. By offering seven-day-a-week deliveries, they can keep these sophisticated warehouses working for customers on a 24/7 basis, becoming even more productive in the process.

“The three big pieces of growth for us are selection, lower prices and speed,” says Dave Clark, Vice President of worldwide operations and customer service for Amazon “Adding an additional day to our delivery schedule is all about speed. Now, an Amazon customer can order a backpack and a Kindle for their child on Friday and be packing it up on Sunday for school on Monday.”

Sunday deliveries will benefit Amazon, the US Postal Service and customers everywhere. It is a win-win for everybody and you can only wonder why nobody thought of this before.

About Gevril Group

Gevril GroupGevril Group is the exclusive US representative for select European watch brands, distributing and servicing luxury, fashion and sports timepieces at a wide range of price points. Gevril Group also operates a full-service watch repair department staffed by master Swiss watchmakers. Contact Gevril Group by email or by calling 845-425-9882.

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For Retailers, Amazon Can be a Real Jungle

Amazon Jungle


by Maggy Michaels Durrenberger  

Don’t be dazzled by Amazon’s customer base of 160 million or eBay’s claims of 233 million global customers. The third-party (3P) online sales environment is not for every retailer—or every product. Those who take the time to look over the terrain may just decide to cancel the safari.

Beware of Uncharted Territory

Navigating Amazon is not a simple matter. After a time-consuming and often complicated entry process, some products may fail to list. The larger the inventory, the tougher it will be to locate and fix the error. You will need to match your products to the “best” listings, select the “right” key words, and win the Holy Grail of Amazon—the little blue Buy Box that means the highest visibility, the most searches and the most sales. Amazon is mysterious about the variables leading to this prize but among them are positive seller standing, customer feedback, low price, consistent availability, high volume, low refund rates and low returns.

The Natives are Restless

While Amazon and eBay both operate large online marketplaces, Amazon became number one years ago—largely on the momentum of FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon), a service that stores and ships products and even handles customer service. Recent FBA changes are meeting with angry protests from Amazon sellers who say that sharp fee hikes cut deeply into their slim profit margins. The new FBA long-term storage policy is forcing some sellers to pay Amazon to destroy their year-old merchandise because Amazon would charge so much more to return it to them.

Major brands like Ralph Lauren, Hugo Boss and Guess are furious about unauthorized 3P sellers on Amazon that are pricing their merchandise below the minimum set for the label. Even the “little guy” who periodically sells items on Amazon can end up screaming. If Amazon runs an automated check on a seller that generates a false-positive for fraud, the seller account is immediately closed without explanation—or recourse. eBay at least provides customer service contacts, online chat and email options for resolving such issues. Not so in the jungle of Amazon.

About Gevril Group

Gevril GroupGevril Group is the exclusive US representative for select European watch brands, distributing and servicing luxury, fashion and sports timepieces at a wide range of price points. Gevril Group also operates a full-service watch repair department staffed by master Swiss watchmakers. Contact Gevril Group by email or by calling 845-425-9882.

Join the conversation! Follow Gevril Group on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Please subscribe to the Gevril Group newsletter and blog digest.

Ensuring Brick-and-Mortar Retail Success in a Digital World

A Jeweler Assisting a Customer


by Maggy Michaels Durrenberger  

Sustaining a booming retail business has always been challenging—even before the onslaught of online sales upped the ante of competition. Today’s multi-channel world may seem daunting, but brick-and-mortar still maintains the upper hand of its inherent strength: local and individual relevance. More than ever before, physical retailers are learning how to delight and even surprise their customers with experiences that nurture loyalty and turn them into “walking advertisements.” Let’s glance over a few of the ways they are creating opportunities for their customers to truly love shopping.

Know Your Customers

From the moment they cross the threshold, customers need to sense that their preferences, needs and desires are a priority. Online sellers can offer virtually unlimited choices, but brick-and-mortar has the ability to offer the right choices. Particularly in higher-end retail environments, customers appreciate and grow to rely upon a selection of relevant, quality merchandise that has been curated by a discerning retailer. They want to see, touch, compare, ask questions—and trust the answers. Consider exclusive rewards for the most loyal customers. Several luxury retailers including Bloomingdale’s and Neiman Marcus invite the frequent users of their store credit cards to private sales and fashion shows.

Don’t Be Boring

Smart retailers are beginning to plan and manage every detail of their business from a perspective of ingenuity and imagination. They look for ways to pop, sizzle, differentiate. At the same time, they are awakening to the power of the occasional “Wow!” Psychologists maintain that memorable customer experiences are created by the emotional intensity of specific moments, not the overall experience. A one-time Fresno, California-based jeweler, would actually sprint over to a nearby floral shop and return with a dozen roses if he overheard that a customer was celebrating an anniversary or birthday.”

Be Authentic

The single most powerful advantage of brick-and-mortar over online sales is the most obvious: the opportunity to make a personal connection. Advertising attracts traffic but it will always be the credibility, trust, value and personal pleasure associated with the shopping experience that brings a customer back again and again.

Smart retailers empower their sales agents with exceptional training programs but they also look for ways to motivate their employees to remain focused on creating an outstanding customer experience—not just a sale. That’s why Nordstrom customer service enjoys iconic status. Forrester Research, Inc. Principal Analyst Kate Leggett calls it a great business strategy. “They treat it as a way to influence the top line. It helps with the repurchase rates and recommendations.”

About Gevril Group

Gevril GroupGevril Group is the exclusive US representative for select European watch brands, distributing and servicing luxury, fashion and sports timepieces at a wide range of price points. Gevril Group also operates a full-service watch repair department staffed by master Swiss watchmakers. Contact Gevril Group by email or by calling 845-425-9882.

Join the conversation! Follow Gevril Group on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Please subscribe to the Gevril Group newsletter and blog digest.