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“Mobilegeddon” & Wearables: Coffee with CART (4/23/15)

Mobilegeddon, Millennials’ online banking habits, and mobile payments via wearbles were three interesting topics from Coffee with CART’s April 23 session. Retailers should be paying close attention to these recent changes in technology because these adjustments will directly affect many.


Tuesday April 28 marked the beginnig of “Mobilegeddon.” Google has changed their search engine algorithm to bring “mobile friendly” websites to the top of search lists. Websites that are not considered “mobile friendly” will be found lower on the list. Why is this a big deal? Forrester Research says that just 38% of business websites are currently optimized for mobile–and some 86% of all U.S. smartphone users search via Google.

Retailers have to make their websites mobile friendly if they want to be found in Google searches from mobile phones. Wondering whether your website is considered mobile friendly? You can test your site by entering your URL in Google’s “mobile-friendly test” search engine. If your website does not pass the Google “mobile-friendly test,” you can contact your local website host to change it or contact an AWG web specialist to hear about our mobile-friendly website options.

As of April 21, there was a 4.7% increase in mobile-friendly websites since the announcement that the Google search algorithm would be changing. By announcing only two months in advance, Google did not give brands or companies much time to revamp their websites, but more sites will likely make necessary changes in future months.

Millennials: The “unbanked” generation?

Millenials are the first generation to be completely digital. According to First Data, 86% of millennials are smartphone users. If retailers are going to attract millennials to their stores, they will have to utilize technology – specifically smartphones. When it comes to mobile payments, millennials are the most likely generation to prefer this new form of payment. 94% of consumers under 35 years old are active users of online banking, which many people access from their smartphones. Millennials are increasingly using online payment methods in place of cash and checks. It probably won’t be long before the majority feel comfortable with mobile payments for in-store purchases.

Although millennials are quick to adapt with technology, more than half are cautious when it comes to mobile banking security. 54% of consumers under 35 years old are concerned about the security of mobile devices for banking purposes.

Next in mobile payments: Wearables

Wearbles have great potential to transform commerce. Starting this summer, American Express card holders in the U.S. will be able to purchase items using a wearable fitness tracker with an embedded NFC chip. This offers AMEX customers the convenience of making purchases without a plastic card or smartphone. Payments via wearbles will be especially useful when you find your hands full and at times when you don’t want to carry cash or cards, like when you go for a jog.

FDIC insures Google Wallet balances

Google announced that account balances stored in Google Wallet are now insured by the FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation), which insures consumer bank accounts up to $250,000. Before now, the FDIC treated mobile wallet services differently from deposit accounts because they were typically used for money transfers instead of storage. Moving forward, Wallet balances will be held in FDIC-insured banking institutions to protect users’ money in case the company is unable to release the funds itself for some reason.

Retailers know they must differentiate their store from others in order to attract more customers. Using technology with your customers is an excellent way to make your store stand out, so consider taking advice from the CART team as they are consistently up-to-date on advancing technology.

Why do I work at AWG? “I love working with independent retail stores to improve their in-store marketing strategies. When consumers compare products at grocery stores, many rely on in-store nutrition information and in-store advertising to make their decisions. By growing the nutrition and rebate programs at AWG stores, I implicitly help thousands of grocery shoppers make healthier choices every day.” -Michelle