The Mobile Takeover of Online Shopping is Here
Enhanced technology and greater personalization services are encouraging more people than ever to choose mobile devices over desktops when making online purchases. In fact, mobile commerce will begin to eclipse traditional desktop e-commerce.
Retailers are certainly aware of this phenomenon, but many are stumped at how to best capitalize on the m-commerce wave.
It’s clear millennials and Gen Z are increasingly turning towards their phones for online shopping. And it’s a lucrative proposition. During the 2016 holiday season, m-commerce exceeded $24 billion, with 68 percent of those sales coming from smartphones. Other research predicts that by the year 2020, mobile will account for 45 percent of the $632 billion in total e-commerce sales.
If retailers want their piece of the m-commerce pie, they should consider these three strategies that can ensure mobile experiences better match consumer expectations:
1. Implement conversational commerce. This term refers to live chat and bots that drive conversations with customers. While these features are often employed for retailers’ desktop sites, there’s a remarkable lack of useful customer service systems on mobile devices.
Given how ubiquitous mobile devices are in our lives, we expect to be able to connect with anything and anyone at any time. This means brands that have poor online and mobile customer service will lose customers. Bounce rates from Search Engine Watch show consumers are twice as likely to leave ill-functioning pages on their smartphones as they are on desktops. That’s because when mobile users land on a page, they don’t want to pinch and resize. They demand a mobile-friendly, responsive design to guarantee a smooth browsing experience, including customer service.
2. Find your role in the mobile wallets game. Currently, there are only three big players in the mobile wallet game — Apple Pay, Walmart Pay and Starbucks’ in-app payments. While mobile wallet apps aren’t mainstream, they're definitely here to stay. In fact, patents for Amazon’s one-click payment software, which allows companies to connect their apps to convenient payment methods, are expiring this year. Once they expire, the floodgates will open and companies will be sure to embrace this handy, revenue-generating tech tool.
The numbers behind mobile wallets are impressive, too. Research shows that customers who use these hands-off MasterCard payment methods spend around 54 percent more than those who pay via traditional means.
3. Quantify social media engagement. With the rise of social media, consumers are landing on websites in different ways; retailers need to be able to track that. Millennials have the largest social presence of any generation and now represent the population with the largest purchasing power in the U.S. Companies need to identify which platforms produce the highest engagement from different audiences and target them effectively.
Springbot, for example, is a data-driven multichannel marketing tool that allows companies to identify and segment audiences by their demographics, determine where they're coming from and remarket to them more effectively.
Our mobile devices are already becoming an extension of ourselves. More and more we can do anything we want nearly anywhere in the world, and shopping should be no exception. The rise of m-commerce represents the most important wave of retail market opportunity since consumer brands first began selling goods and services online 20 years ago.
Companies that fail to optimize their mobile experience will see their sales decline. By following the strategies above, retailers can ride the m-commerce wave to bigger sales.
Juliana Martins is the director of client services at ExpandLab, an e-commerce design and development agency.
Related story: What Retailers and Brands Can Learn From 2016