Some realism this week on the real role of mobile in a multi-channel world. Firstly from Brian Pearce who is the Senior Vice President and Head of Retail, Mobile Channel and Digital Innovations for Wells Fargo. His job title is even longer than mine, but the man speaks a lot of sense. The piece implores us not to treat mobile differently to any other channel, and to keep the customer front of mind. Experience first, channels and technology second – I couldn’t agree more.

Slightly less concise and clear is a piece and accompanying infographic from the Mobile Marketing Association. It contains a few nuggets and some UK stats for once, so worth sifting through. The conclusion that mobile is the ‘thread’ that links other channels is hardly new, but perhaps significant given that it comes from an organisation whose single channel purpose is writ large in its very name. Just an aside, but I wonder how long the MMA can maintain relevance in a world where separating channels is becoming more and more anachronistic?

Finally three pieces around supermarkets and multi-channel. The first, that Waitrose plans to launch chilled delivery lockers for click-and-collect customers in-store and at remote locations. Shoppers who spend over £50 online can use the service, and they get a code texted to their mobile. A truly joined-up multi-channel approach. They are not the only company to do so. Amazon and Asda lockers have been popping up over the UK this year, and have been operating an independent click-and-collect locker service in UK for quite some time, including facilities at railway stations.

Secondly, Morrisons are playing catch up in the world of multi-channel with £300m being invested to bring them up to date. Their chief executive, speaking at a recent strategy event in London said: “We have plenty of smart people in this business but had an absence of smart technology.”

And thirdly and finally for this week, a dose of realism from Sam Curtis, global director for retail and shopper at TNS. He looks at data from their latest Mobile Life study (, and asks whether mobile has a real role to play in many retail scenarios, especially in supermarkets, where opportunity and benefits from mobile interaction are potentially low.

I still believe that mobile and connected devices can help shoppers, but I agree that value will vary depending on retail environment, products and shopper needs. If the supermarket shopper values convenience above all else, then super-simple mobile vouchers and product finding tools may be where it’s at.

In fact nudging people towards the tills rather than shouldering the whole purchase may be a more appropriate role for mobile and connected devices in lots of retail scenarios. Which takes us back to first point – think experience before talking channels and technology.