Mobile consumers and the retail industry (with Thomas Beauvisage)


Over the last ten years, marketing professionals have invested in various devices aimed at digitalizing the point of sale. Mobile phones, and the connection they open between the digital and physical worlds, are likely to profoundly renew the way organizations build the representations of consumers upon which they operate. This article aims to describe the new, mobile-based market infrastructure that is currently being implemented; the figures of the consumer it builds on and renews for marketing purposes; and the opportunities it offers to create a new marketing scene. We address this question by focusing on the world of physical retail. We show that online commerce websites and http cookies have enabled a connection between three traditionally separate figures of the consumer and associated marketing scenes: the consumer as an audience, as a shopping cart, or as a (loyalty) card. The smartphone carries the promise of pursuing this movement into store aisles. We show, however, that the domestication of physical geography to cultivate mobile consumers is particularly difficult, and so far based on a series of disparate attempts and experiments.

link to published article (pre-print)


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