What Retailers Need to Know About How Consumers Shop in the Mobile Age
Smartphones are the center of our lives from the moment we open our eyes. In fact, a new report from RootMetrics by IHS Markit shows that nearly one in four (23 percent) Americans check their mobile phones within a minute of waking up, and over half (58 percent) check their smartphone within 10 minutes. The recent report, which offers a closer look at Americans’ mobile habits and preferences, shows that mobile devices have directly impacted our daily tasks — and even our happiness. We can all agree that mobile devices have taken over our social lives, but have they successfully crept their way into the storefront, too? Absolutely.
Shopping used to be a brick-and-mortar experience, which meant chaotic malls, long lines and scouring department stores for the best prices. However, by 2018, shopping has mostly gone digital, with many retailers offering new platforms for customers to browse and buy without the hassle of in-person interactions. To be successful in the retail space today, companies must capitalize on this smartphone-forward wave, aligning their services to the needs of the ever-evolving mobile consumer. Retailers need to align their e-commerce strategy by turning to a m-commerce strategy. Here’s why …
Mobile is Leading the World of Online Shopping
Just as the growth of online shopping has surpassed in-store during the last decade, shopping on mobile devices is now projected to overtake desktops. In fact, mobile is already leading the world of e-commerce, with 45 percent of Americans noting that they used their smartphone for most of their online holiday shopping in 2018. However, the trend wasn't unanimous, generationally speaking. The report showed that millennials were the biggest fans of mobile shopping, with over half (52 percent) planning to use a smartphone for purchases in December 2018. Meanwhile, just one in five (19 percent) baby boomers said they would be using their mobile device for shopping during the same time frame.
Mobile shopping is now a retail standard, but platforms can’t be one size fits all. To get ahead, retailers should evolve from a millennial-centric mind-set to address how different demographics of customers chose to shop — whether it be offering age-appropriate interfaces or in-store pickups to help baby boomers become acclimated to the new norm.
Mobile Pay is Still Lagging in Adoption
While mobile shopping has taken hold, especially among millennials, mobile payments are still confined to the sidelines. There are two specific reasons for consumers lack of readiness for mobile pay.
First, it’s simply not convenient. In fact, 37 percent of U.S. consumers don’t think mobile pay apps compare in convenience to traditional cash or credit cards. Second, many consumers worry about their vulnerability when using a mobile payments platform. Over one-third (36 percent) expressed concerns that their data wouldn’t be secure when using a mobile payment app.
Before implementing a mobile payments platform, retailers should ensure they have strong network bandwidth to address consumers’ hesitations. Immediate payment responses are key to consumer adoption, and efficient transactions will help smartphone users gain trust and understand the ease of paying without a physical wallet.
Mobile’s influence on shopping behavior (and all aspects of life) has been on the rise since the advent of the smartphone, and the trend isn’t going anywhere in 2019. Retailers can prepare for what’s coming next by ensuring that their mobile platforms align with consumers’ growing appetite for m-commerce, and cater to their mobile payment pain points, ultimately providing an interactive, secure and quick shopping experience.
Kevin Hasley is head of product at RootMetrics by IHS Markit, an independent mobile analytics firm.
Related story: Button 2019 Mobile Commerce Report: Holiday Analysis
Kevin Hasley is head of product at RootMetrics by IHS Markit, an independent mobile analytics firm. For over 8 years, he has led the development of RootMetrics’ reports, which provide objective metrics about carrier network performance on actual smartphones, empowering consumers to choose the right network for the places where you live, work and play. Prior to his time at RootMetrics, Kevin held multiple product and marketing-based roles at BSquare, Texas Instruments and Raytheon.