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M-Commerce: how mobile phones are being used to learn, explore and buy

October 18, 2021

The latest data from InMobi 2021 Southeast Asia Mobile Marketing Handbook shows that new shoppers generated over a third of online commerce in the past year, of which 8 in 10 intend to continue buying online from now on. Consumers who have now tried online grocery shopping have doubled, with over 75% indicating they will continue post-pandemic. E-commerce has emerged as a key growth driver across Southeast Asia as more shoppers increasingly move online, leading to all data pointing to a permanent shift in consumers' habits.

Consumers who have tried online grocery shopping have doubled, with over 75% indicating that they will continue post-pandemic. E-commerce has emerged as a key growth driver across Southeast Asia as more shoppers increasingly move online, leading to all data pointing to a permanent shift in consumers' habits.

However, there is one constant in their shopping journey: mobile to learn, explore and buy. According to a survey conducted using InMobi Pulse, two in three respondents across Southeast Asia claim to use their mobile to learn about and discover new products, 82% to research and explore, and over 60% to make purchases. The survey also reveals that while consumers are not completely averse to in-store visits in the new normal, they seek a seamless experience that involves mobile discovery/ booking and subsequent pick-ups in store. Whether online or in-store, mobile is the preferred companion; the beginning and end of it all.

Connected, mobile-first, and nonlinear shopping journeys

Regardless of the varying touchpoints in the connected consumers’ lifecycles, they expect a seamless experience. The connected consumer journey is divided into three stages: learn, explore and buy.

The ‘learning’ stage is the first touchpoint where a brand introduces or piques the interest of consumers in its products, services, and offerings. This stage is critical for discovering brands, increasing brand awareness and recall. The consumer, subsequently, starts interacting, engaging, and investing time in the brand and its offerings.

The ‘exploring’ stage involves extensive research on the products and their features, price comparisons, and user reviews. Relevant and in-depth content plays a key role in shaping the perception and favorability of the consumer during this phase.

The ‘buying’ stage is the ultimate touchpoint when a consumer is on the brink of becoming a customer. However, a consumer can seamlessly float between the learn, explore and buy stages multiple times before making the final purchase.

Smartphones are the anchor for many Southeast Asians in their daily lives. Mobile will be extremely critical for consumers to learn, explore and buy, with 53% of respondents learning about sales and offers on their smartphones. Only 6% of millennials rely on television to learn about shopping offers. Interestingly, 61% of women use mobile to discover products/services, while 58% of families with children rely on their smartphones.

There has been a phenomenal growth of 84% in mobile as a channel to explore, making it the medium of choice by a long way, especially when compared to other sources such as in-store and desktop. Mobile has also emerged as the most preferred buying channel for consumers, with 63% of respondents relying on it for shopping.​

An omni-channel, mobile-enabled shopping experience

In today's world, brands must create a unified and seamless consumer experience across online and offline channels to connect with their consumers and create sustainable relationships. According to our study on marketing in the new normal, delivering an omnichannel experience is the biggest priority for marketers across Southeast Asia. This omnichannel mindset provides customers with the much-needed choice and freedom to interact with the brand at the touchpoints they prefer.

However, with a multitude of choices presented to today’s consumers, it is increasingly tough to drive loyalty for one brand. Mobile-first connectivity has paved a unique opportunity for brands to capture these mobile-native users. Brands need to remember that the connected Indonesian consumer is price conscious and unplanned (now more than ever) and is extensively learning, exploring, and buying on their smartphones. Brands that invest in building the right mobile-first experiences will win over the connected shopper at the end of the day.

Article was written by:
Narayan Murthy Ivaturi
Director, performance & digital native, Southeast Asia
InMobi

Tags

InMobi
Southeast Asia
Mobile Commerce