It’s no secret that consumers have become reliant on their mobile devices. A 2021 report from eMarketer stated that nearly one third of all media time in the U.S. will be spent on mobile devices this year. The same study found that the average U.S. adult is projected to spend an average of 4 hours and 23 minutes per day on their smartphone.
More time spent on their mobile devices means that consumers are discovering the advantages of mobile commerce, also known as “m-commerce,” at a faster pace as well. According to Retail Touchpoints, revenue from mobile commerce is projected to be responsible for more than half of all digital sales worldwide in 2021, while mobile commerce sales are projected to reach $4.5 trillion globally, an increase of over 20 percent from 2020.
Changing Mobile Commerce Preferences
Given the statistics, I predict that mobile will become the preferred channel for online shopping within the next five years. To capitalize on the growing popularity of m-commerce, retailers must create a mobile experience that can meet the same needs and preferences consumers want throughout their entire shopping experience, from online research to curbside pickup. Compounding the challenge, consumer preferences are constantly shifting and evolving due to factors like social commerce, new and emerging digital-first retail competitors, and of course, a global pandemic. That’s why retailers must future-proof their organization by ensuring their mobile commerce experiences are as robust and seamless as any other online or in-person interaction.
So, what does that mean for retailers in 2021 and beyond? First and foremost, personalization practices that strive toward the “audience of one” goal need to be supported seamlessly within the mobile experience. Advanced data practices that help provide the customer with exactly what they want, when they want it, and where they want it, need to be extended to mobile commerce to deliver an efficient, personalized buying experience.
Unique aspects of mobile commerce that further support a personalized experience are also coming to the forefront. Voice search, for example, has gone beyond directions and weather as voice shopping becomes a faster and more convenient option for online shopping and research.
The use of augmented reality (AR) and other advanced mobile technologies give retailers the ability to customize their orders to a customer’s exact dimensions, including the popular “see how it looks” options offered by companies like Amazon and Wayfair. And while chatbots have been around for years, their use is now becoming more prevalent within mobile commerce as well, answering customer questions, handling transactions like returns, and creating customized promotions and offers.
Changes in consumer mobile commerce preferences are extending past the shopping experience into payments as well. According to the National Retail Federation, nearly 70% of U.S. retailers now accept some kind of contactless payment. As consumer trust in this type of payment increases, mobile commerce must be flexible enough to support all methods of pay including mobile wallets. This trend is increasing as tech giants like Google and Apple continue to vie for the lead within this space, and overseas firms like Lydia and Alipay pioneer new payment technologies.
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Complementing the In-store Experience with Mobile Commerce
Consumers continue to value the in-person shopping experience, however. For many, the preferred mobile experience must support their in-store activities as well. New research from Retail Dive shows that 67 percent of consumers conduct online product research before stepping foot in a store. This “clicks to bricks” trend is continuing, as consumers customize their eCommerce experience from an expanding combination of shopping and fulfillment options. For retailers, the goal must be a seamless commerce experience that supports buying behavior whether it happens online, via mobile, or in-person.
As a retailer, you must deliver a mobile experience that encourages transacting and complements the in-store experience at the same time. Don’t be surprised if meeting both the company’s goals and staying ahead of the competition means creating custom mobile apps in addition to your standard mobile commerce platform. Mobile commerce apps often include more product information, reviews, and even videos while the customer is in the store. Target, Walmart, and other large retailers have long leveraged their apps to allow shoppers to find more information while shopping in the physical store, or to order something later online. On top of standard, mobile ready commerce offerings, Avtex can help build additional custom apps for you to meet the unique needs of your customers.
Mobile as Part of the Omnichannel Experience
It’s clear that the mobile commerce experience needs to be part of a larger omnichannel commerce strategy. Fortunately, the entire Microsoft technology stack is mobile-ready including Microsoft’s POS and ecommerce systems. You simply install it, and it immediately works.
With the right commerce strategy, delivering a mobile experience that encourages transacting and complements the in-store experience doesn’t have to be complicated. Leveraging Microsoft technology, Avtex can provide the commerce foundation needed to deliver the superior omnichannel experience your company needs and your customers expect.