There is a fundamental difference between having a mobile presence and being mobile-first. While we admit this is hardly ground-breaking information, the push of Covid-19 into a near full digital world has undeniably sped up the process – so much so that mobile commerce (m-commerce) now accounts for around 35% of all online retail transactions.
But how is the retail world adapting to the next gen of mobile shoppers? Are retailers doing enough to get ahead of the curve and, if not, what are the consequences?
Advantages of m-commerce for retailers
So, you may be wondering, what is the difference between m-commerce and e-commerce? E-commerce refers to buying and selling online in a far more general way, whereas m-commerce deals specifically with mobile commerce. So that’s people buying and selling from their mobile phones rather than a desktop or tablet. Both should be treated as separate channels and have their own strategies for retailers to find success.
When it comes to the advantages of m-commerce, retailers really don’t need to look too much into it. Considering 79% of smartphones users have made an online purchase on their mobile in the last six months, not having a m-commerce strategy could be hugely detrimental for a business.
Not only does m-commerce accelerate the customer journey, but it also allows you to better understand them. Where consumers used to walk into a store, buy something and leave, m-commerce can use data to give you a better idea of what is influencing their buying. Even with the recent iOS 14 update and cookie restrictions, retailers can still gain valuable insights into why certain products are selling.
Similarly, with an m-commerce strategy, retailers can create and distribute personalized content at a far more granular level than ever before. One in five consumers are happy for businesses to use personal information if it means they are given a more personalized product or service. Armed with that information, retailers can analyze behavior patterns of individuals, then deliver this personalized content – for example, special offers, promotions and/or discounts based on their shopping history. So data sharing may not be as much of a taboo subject as retailers think.
Can a retailer survive without a m-commerce strategy?
‘Showrooming’ is something that has appeared in recent years. This is when a consumer goes into a store to browse and see products in real life before going online to find the best deal.
If a retailer wants to sustain their physical stores, it’s crucial that they include m-commerce as part of growth plans. Retailers who have done this successfully have incorporated the online and offline shopping experience to offer the best of both worlds to consumers.
Stores operating click-and-collect services, in particular, have found that it also increased their in-store activity. US retailer Target (Bosco Index: 667) saw a pick-up of 60% in-store as a result of introducing a click-and-collect shopping service.
Looking forward, retailers risk falling short by not implementing a m-commerce strategy to support this new shopping behavior. Similarly, for many the shopping experience now has to stand out in order to be worth the visit. After all, why would you want to go into a shop when you can see the whole product range from the comfort of your sofa?
How is m-commerce affecting physical stores?
Although retail m-commerce does play a crucial part in the marketing mix, that doesn’t mean retailers should backbench the physical store. Ultimately, people go shopping for the experience. Even if they don’t buy anything, for most consumers shopping is a day out. They will probably go with friends and buy coffee or lunch while they’re out.
Mobile shopping won’t ever be able to replace the physical shopping experience. That’s why m-commerce strategy should be integrated into existing marketing plans to maximize omnichannel-savvy shoppers. Nowadays, retailers need to provide an outstanding in-store experience that leaves positive impressions with consumers, which will influence their purchasing decisions – whether that be on mobile, online or in-store.
It can be difficult as a retailer to know where to spend your budget – that’s where Bosco can help. Using a machine learning algorithm, Bosco identifies where you can better spend your marketing budget based on opportunities within your channels. Plus, you can use the forecasting tools to test budget scenarios – taking the risk out of spending your money.