It seems as though consumers can buy nearly anything online and have it delivered to their home today. Until I can order a customized, personally hand-selected puppy delivered to my doorstep, I will not be satisfied.
Better yet, selected via mobile puppy vendor site.
I expect to order the puppy quickly, efficiently, and perhaps with a discount code, at least, that's what online shoppers can expect from mobile commerce trends this year. Curbside delivery dogs for everyone!
What is Mobile Commerce Anyway?
Mobile commerce uses wireless devices like cellular phones, laptops, or tablets to conduct commercial transactions online, also known as m-commerce. With the increasing expectation and demand to purchase goods and services on-the-go, mobile customers are driving developers to increase productivity in purchasing applications for electronic customers.
Mobile Commerce is #TRENDING in 2016
Nomophobia: the fear of being without a phone or without a signal on one's phone. Also known as a contributing factor to the influx in mobile retail shopping. Because of our reliance on mobile phones and mobile shopping, retailers have to keep up with the changing landscape. Mobile commerce accounted for 30% of U.S. e-commerce in 2015, according to the Internet Retailer 2016 Mobile 500 Guide. Keep your eyes peeled for changes in online shopping this year. Here's what to expect and how retailers can keep up with and achieve mobile commerce gold.
1 | Mobile Payments Via Retailer Apps
Scan your phone and pay. It has become that simple. However, even with the success of Apple Pay and Samsung Pay, not all retailers accept this form of payment. Cue brands devising their own payments via apps. That's right- Starbucks money. But nothing can be that easy, right? Of course not. In order for these retailer payments apps to work they have to incorporate an incentive program to keep customers. The Starbucks plan is to notify customers how many times they've visited for a venti iced coffee and when they're due for a free brew. Where do I sign up?
The success of mobile payment apps will lie in whether or not retailers implement these incentive programs, creating a connection with the customer. Retailers creating the most loyal customer base will see the most success, of course. If mobile wallets reach A-list star status we will see a challenge erupting against retailers' apps.
2 | Brands Have to Alter Mobile Checkouts
Small screens and small checkout procedures don't mix. In order for brands to successfully pull the trigger on mobile customer purchases, they have to optimize their sites to work on smart phones just as well as desktop or tablet computers. That means fixing the shopping cart abandonment plague. Two out of three users leave before making a purchase from their shopping cart, and the conversion rate from desktop to mobile is 70% lower. However, the 2015 holiday shopping season proved to be a positive turnaround with smartphones producing 57% of traffic.
On the heels of an upswing, brands can be expected to improve the checkout process this year. Brands need to to design mobile sites using mobile experience optimization. With this process designers create mobile-specific checkouts, shortening the number of steps to check out, and/or elimination extra fluff like discount codes. Customers would then have more control and ease in the buying process via mobile design versus a more detailed version on desktop viewing.
3 | Get to Know Your Audience
The needs of mobile users are fairly simple: feed and water them, and occasionally, throw them a bone. Mobile commerce continues to increase because of trends easily viewed by the average Joe. We like to look at our phones, a lot. So once again, retailers are stepping up their game in making online shopping a seamless experience, and easier, if not better, than using a desktop computer. Customers want to be comfortable and on-the-go. They want something others cannot have. Sellers should enact reinforcements such as access to early deals and better discounts than in-store offers.
Again, retailers need to focus on creating mobile experiences that give customers what they need in an immediate fashion. Implement mobile experience optimization to deliver immediate satisfaction and shorten wait time.
4| Physical and Online Worlds Colliding
Consumers are turning to retailers online while in the physical store itself. There's literally nothing better than ordering an item online while in the store if it's out of stock in front of you that day.
Actually, it's a roller-coaster of emotions with a happy outcome. 50% of customers who purchased from a retailer online also made a purchase in-store in the same time period. Stores like Target offer this option, as well as same-day delivery and curbside pickup. Hate buying clothes online only to discover they don't fit once they've arrived? Sears now offers the option to reserve clothes online and try on in-store. No shopping remorse and no shipping mess.
Digital and physical spaces will continue to engage customers through both experiences. To aid in the intersection of online and in-store shopping, brands can enlist third-party apps to make services like curbside pickup a reality. Many retailers have adopted beacons- low-cost devices used to communicate with smartphone apps indoors through a Bluetooth signal. Retailers should use beacons to communicate with shoppers in-stores through location-based rewards like coupons and loyalty offers.
5| Social Media and Buying
When is the last time you accessed social media on a desktop computer? I'm betting your answer is, "I can't remember." 60% of consumers view social media on mobile rather than desktop. Retailers picked up on this habit and introduced buy buttons on sites like Pinterest and Facebook. E-retailers use customer data to attract shoppers. Think ads for Ibiza popping up on the side of your Facebook after searching for "summer vacation getaways." Retailers use this information to better personalize offers to consumers, which then increases their loyalty to a brand. Although this may not be breaking news, social-driven retail sales continue to grow.
Social media increased e-commerce referrals nearly 200% between 2014 and 2015. In order to maintain a social relationship with online shoppers, retailers need to keep their eye on mobile where social engagement is less likely than desktop engagement. That means upping buy buttons on paid posts via Instagram or targeting older consumers through Facebook to accommodate the changing age demographic.
6| Web Traffic Is Not All About Apps
This section of the list is not meant to downplay the success of mobile retailer apps. Apps and web traffic are both winning, especially with the advent of things like Starbucks pay and early deal opportunities to app users. However, according to a 2015 Morgan Stanley study comparing browser traffic and app traffic, only 20-30% of retailer's mobile sales come from apps. This could be due to the continuous rise in mobile user acquisition costs. But brand marketers are using this opportunity to look for new ways to reach non-app using customers. Mobile commerce retailers need to take elements and loyalty features from apps to continue their leap above the competition.
Shopping is no longer just swiping a credit card or swapping cash. It's now a virtual exchange with real-life perks and services that retailers must adapt and customize to. Not everyone can be the next Apple Pay, nor does everyone want to be a paperless monetary machine. But retailers no longer have a choice but to think of new ways to engage and keep customers coming back to their sites, whether that be via apps or traditional web browsing. Mobile commerce is here to stay, just like a phone never leaving your hand.