The tipping point for mobile commerce seems to have arrived. A report from comScore shows that eCommerce growth overshadows all other online retail spending, with over three times the growth of PC eCommerce.
M-commerce is the blanket term used to describe goods and services sold on smartphones, tablets and other non-PC devices. It is the increasing mobile penetration across all demographics and sectors that have propelled businesses to go more ‘mobile’ and make the most of the virtual marketplace that thrives on devices.
But as the m-commerce market has evolved, so have people’s expectations. Customers expect dedicated mobile apps with various features enhancing their shopping experience be it one-touch tapping, or voice activated search. 4G network and sophisticated devices have further boosted the m-commerce ecosystem with Europe and Asia leading the m-commerce bandwagon and the US catching up as per a report by Criteo State of the Mobile Commerce 2016.
The Rise Of Mobile Commerce
The report also shows that m-commerce generated:
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In fact, Business Insider predicts that mobile’s share of eCommerce revenues will continue to leap forward, capturing 45% of the total US eCommerce market by 2020. These numbers predict the future, but how do the developers, merchants, and CMOs prepare today to meet these growing demands and greater expectations? One way of riding the m-commerce wave is to understand the prevalent trends and technologies that dominate mobile commerce today. Let’s take a look at some of these drivers of influence and trends in mobile commerce:
Smarter Chatbots and Mobile Messengers
Chatbots and mobile messengers may seem like an overhyped phenomenon but reputed brands like Starbucks, H&M, and Nordstrom are already using them. The chatbots have arrived and are here to stay. A survey by eMarketer reports that social media user prefers messenger apps (54.4%) to get in touch with the brand as opposed to email, phone calls and traditional chat (46.6%).
Shoppers are quickly becoming accustomed to chatbots that respond in real time and personalize their shopping journey, catering to their needs without the need for downloading/installing an app. The bot technology is still in its nascent stage and there is huge potential in this market.
The Augmented Reality Revolution
Many merchants and eCommerce businesses are warming up to the idea of using headsets that render projections to customers’ reality. Very soon, buyers can expect AR headsets to display how certain outfits will look on them before they make the choice. From home décor to makeup and complex products and tools, AR is set to blur the divide between real and virtual for skeptical shoppers.
As retailers look at innovation to set them apart from the competition and make their brand stand out, AR is the tool that can make the most difference. It is expected to increase revenues by letting customers ‘try before buy’ and reduce returns and eliminate the guesswork. AR provides the much-needed boost to online retail by helping customers choose better and more confidently. But that is not all. The future of omnichannel shopping bets heavily on AR to add more value by getting customers to engage with mobile retail channels and in turn, driving more in-store traffic.
Progressive Web Apps
Progressive web apps (PWAs) are fast reimagining the mobile web especially future trends in mobile commerce. PWAs use modern web capabilities to deliver a native app like experience for users. But the selling point of PWAs is their ability to bring the best of the web and native applications to users.
One of the biggest complaints about mobile web is that it can be clunky, sluggish and never quite live up to the PC experience. But PWAs are set to change the game with blazing fast speed and frictionless surfing and shopping experiences. Already, companies like Flipkart, Lancôme, Alibaba, and Trivago are reaping the benefits with an increase in m-commerce sales and longer time on site. Not surprisingly, Magento has tied up with Google to develop all new progressive web apps for Magento merchants.
Digital commerce and marketing automation have always been in synergy. But in the past couple of years, automation has evolved to apply the essentials of marketing and enable selling on autopilot. There are a plethora of marketing automation tools catered specifically towards eCommerce.
From sending automated push notifications based on user insights to in-app messages, SMS/texts, segmentation of mobile audiences and personalized content based on this info, A/B testing, automated commerce and transaction capabilities, the possibilities are immense.
Voice Activated Search
Customers and users are now addicted to voice commands with Siri and Cortana being their mobile genies. Voice activation technology is being used in high-tech cars and homes and it should certainly be a part of users’ mobile app experiences. Voice activated search further reduces the friction in the task of searching and buying products. Allowing them to speak to your app and build their shopping cart, will bring you one step closer to conversion.
As mobile commerce leapfrogs in the online digital commerce space, retailers have to use technology and research to make mobile shopping as easy and convenient as its desktop counterpart.
Some of these technologies may be in their nascent stage but they will soon become the accepted standard for mobile commerce. Businesses that adopt the changes early will gain an edge over the competition and delight their customers with a never-seen-before shopping experience.