Retail isn’t dead, it has just moved — online. It’s no secret that the proliferation of mobile has altered countless elements of consumers’ lives, including the way they shop. While the in-store experience isn't without its advantages — tactile and instant gratification, to name a few — the convenience of on-the-go browsing and in-the-moment purchasing can’t be beat.
Modern retail has empowered consumers, allowing them to use a variety of devices, channels and platforms to research and purchase products. For example, consider shoppers in the market to purchase a new bookshelf. These shoppers can start by researching on their phone, then move over to their desktop to view higher-resolution images. They may then visit a retail store to gauge the ease of assembly and look of the bookshelf, and finally make a purchase via a retailer’s app. This omnichannel behavior means that brands need a cohesive, data-driven approach to win the war for consumer attention and spend.
A Forrester study revealed that mobile commerce sales grew 29 percent to $153 billion in 2017, making up one-third of online retail revenue. Whether consumers are shopping for electronics, fashion, or health and beauty, mobile drives top-line growth for retailers. In tandem, global in-app transactions have increased by 22 percent year-over-year, according to Criteo’s Global Commerce Review. In the "mobile-first" world of retail, there are three key considerations for marketers to keep in mind.
Mobile is everywhere. Mobile shoppers are also everywhere. Mobile is no longer an afterthought for commerce, as retailers have responded to the mobile revolution by creating highly optimized mobile e-commerce sites. And even as mobile becomes a mature channel, we continue to see transactions on smartphones grow at a fast pace. A recent study revealed that transactions on smartphone devices grew 22.5 percent year-over-year, while tablet and desktop usage declined. Retailers must thus ensure that their entire transactional experience is seamless on small form-factor devices.
Retailers should also view the mobile device as a portal to the entire consumer purchase experience. Retailers with the ability to stitch together exactly how a user interacts with the entire suite of retailer-owned experiences (app, website, store, etc.) can create the 360-degree portrait of consumer behavior that fuels one-to-one segmentation. Site experience, marketing messages and in-store service are all levers that retailers can personalize based on a 360-degree view of the consumer.
Not only have consumers warmed to the idea of making purchases on their phones, they're starting to shift their mobile shopping preferences from retailer websites to apps. The aforementioned study found that app purchases now account for over two-thirds of mobile commerce transactions in North America for retailers with a shopping app. Furthermore, the 20 percent conversion rate on shopping apps is more than three times higher than the 6 percent seen on the mobile web.
Despite representing only 7 percent of all customers, omnichannel customers are responsible for a whopping 27 percent of all sales volume. As these omnichannel shoppers continue to use various channels in their paths to purchase, retailers need to leverage omnichannel data to optimize their marketing efforts. Omnichannel retailers that link in-store and online consumer behavior can apply over four times as much sales data as compared to retailers with web-only data.
Today’s shopper is on-the-go and researching across multiple screens. And while consumers may shift between devices, environments and walled gardens, mobile phones are driving growth across the board. App adoption and improved data infrastructure are making way for improved omnichannel marketing, so the retail opportunity is clear — prioritize and optimize the mobile experience, shopping apps, and the 360-degree view of the consumer, or risk leaving money on the table.
Jaysen Gillespie is vice president, head of analytics and insights, Criteo, a commerce marketing ecosystem that helps retailers acquire, convert and re-engage shoppers along every step in the path to purchase.
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