What is becoming increasingly clear is that the app will dominate mobile commerce. Apps are now used whenever a customer is in shopping mode. Often this will be to check and compare prices and features, but retailers are now making even closer connections using technologies like beacons, which identify a customer when they come into a store.
Expanding the experiences that consumers can have with their mobile devices is the future of m-commerce. Deloitte Digital concluded: "Our data found that consumers want to interact with retailers – evidenced by the fact that 30% of shoppers surveyed that used their smartphone on their last shopping trip used a retailer's mobile app or website.
"Our survey also shows that 74% of consumers surveyed who used a retailer's native app or site during their most recent shopping trip actually made a purchase that day, compared to only 66% who didn't use the retailer's app or site."
The use of apps as the primary way to access a retailer's online store will continue to expand. "The customer purchase journey has become increasingly complex as consumers have stopped using a single device to make their purchases," says Jonathan Wolf, chief product officer, Criteo. "Delivering an engaging app experience and connecting seamlessly with consumers across multiple devices are key to capturing e-commerce sales in this new world."
Having access to thousands of stores in their pockets no matter their location is a powerful shift in the customer/brand/retailer relationship. Businesses that can quickly evolve their e-commerce services to embrace the mobile space will become destination sites. There is still work to be done regarding how products and services are presented to customers, with payment options and security still a concern, but mobile is the future of retailing.
Your m-commerce checklist
Research carried out by Centre for Retail Research (CRR) for VoucherCodes.co.uk revealed over £6 billion (around $9 billion, AU$12.5 billion) is being lost by retailers due to a lack of investment in their mobile services.
Says Claire Davenport, media and internet, strategy and management, VoucherCodes.co.uk: "The growth of online and mobile spending has already had a hugely positive impact on the retail sector. However, there is still a great opportunity being missed – and it is worth billions for retailers. Customers have expressed their intention to spend more on mobile devices, so now is the time to revisit mobile strategy to capitalise on this."
And social media will also increasingly become a retail space. Already visual marketing across Pinterest and Instagram with embedded 'buy now' buttons on all major social media networks means retailers have a range of channels to reach their customers – all via a device they always have with them.
Is your business ready to embrace the m-commerce revolution now taking place? Follow these four steps to ensure that it is:
Multi-screen is essential
Your customers now use multiple channels for researching and shopping. Integration with your website, mobile and in-store is vital and demanded by today's mobile consumers.
With consumers checking their phones up to 150 times a day, there is plenty of opportunity to connect with them. Push notifications are a powerful marketing tool all businesses can use to reach out to specific customers about their goods or services.
Engage with content
With 4G now available to consumers, retailers can use rich content to showcase their goods or services. Video is the most popular type of content online – especially across social networks – so using video for your marketing can be highly effective.
With a direct channel to your customers, high levels of personalised customer services have consistently been shown to improve sales and brand awareness.
Google states: "WWW now stands for "What I want, when I want, where I want it." This is true none more so than in the mobile commerce environment. There is no doubt that this retail landscape will expand and become the dominant way to shop – just make sure you and your business are ready.