Mobile commerce trends: Retail in 2017, 2018 and beyond
Mobile commerce trends are a pressing area of interest for many organizations this year. That’s because this type of e-commerce is expected to double, projected to become a $250 billion market by 2020, reports Smart Insights. Retailers especially must become attuned to new developments in the space as more business shifts to the portable and online domains.
Luckily for those hoping to prepare for the transition, all it takes is a little forethought to adapt to rapidly changing customer markets. Below are the key mobile commerce trends you should be aware of and plan for in the coming months, especially if you’re looking to do retail business.
Rapid smartphone growth and expansion
Statista reported that roughly 4.77 billion people are expected to be using smartphones by the end of 2017. As eMarketer has pointed out, much of mobile commerce’s growth is being driven by these devices — devices with a wide variety of forms, capabilities and operating systems.
Noting this, more and more retailers won’t just be placing an emphasis on designing responsive online storefronts and adaptable websites tailored for mobile devices in coming years; they’ll also be creating solutions that will work on a variety of screen sizes, operating systems and technical readouts. In effect, to retain customers going forward, retail organizations will have to focus on offering both the best deals and products as well as the best possible mobile experience.
Analytics and predictive technologies
In one of today’s most important mobile commerce trends, a growing number of mobile consumers expect solutions that are personalized and tailored to their needs and interests. Rather than adopting a one-size-fits-all approach or expecting customers to sift through online stacks, retailers are looking to track buyers’ behaviors and purchasing patterns to offer customized suggestions and solutions to them.
For example, more and more retail outlets offer shoppers recommended or featured products, links to what others with similar interests have bought and special deals keyed to their preferences. Power shoppers may find themselves privy to steep discounts for bulk or high-end purchases. Alternatively, certain customers might receive special offers to come back or reconsider transactions if they abandon items after placing them in their virtual carts.
Note that many retailers are also employing analytics tools and predictive technologies behind these initiatives to aid with on-demand delivery, inventory management and unique giveaways or promotions.
A growing number of retailers are additionally turning to hybrid online and in-store solutions to increase sales and traffic. For example, many now allow online purchase and real-world pickup at curbside. Others encourage online check-ins, reservations and preorders to help consumers avoid crowds and long lines — some even offer drive-through service solutions once orders are placed online or via mobile app to increase convenience. Still more are experimenting with fast-track delivery options, like Sunday or same-day delivery, to move the needle.
Augmented reality (AR), wearable technology and location-based programs
Retailers will also continue to experiment with geotargeted solutions for influencing shoppers in coming months, such as delivering coupons to customers’ phones as they pass nearby locations or approach competing chains. In addition, they’ll place growing emphasis on AR apps and devices, which overlay digital data on real-world scenes — pointing shoppers who use these tools to local stores that stock the goods they’re hunting for right when buyers are hunting for them, for example. Wearable technology steals and deals are also anticipated to grow. Picture flash sales or coupons delivered right to your wrist.
Mobile and micro-moments
Research shows that customers are checking their smartphones and mobile devices dozens of times a day and are often multitasking when using them. Thus, shoppers will increasingly expect one-touch purchases, rapid-fire order placement solutions and the ability to quickly and easily browse, buy or research transactions on the fly whenever the mood strikes. Bearing this in mind, retailers are turning to responsive solutions that help streamline and optimize these processes. For instance, many shoppers are now able to do the following:
- Purchase goods from within favorite digital magazines right as they read about them.
- Scan virtual loyalty cards at the register.
- Quickly swipe or tap their way to customize clothes and shoes with different colors and decals while riding the subway home.
Given skyrocketing digital growth, mobile commerce trends are now an important consideration for retailers to keep in mind. Luckily, it’s possible to capitalize on them to drive ongoing success and boost customer engagement. Shoppers have spoken, and the message is clear: the future belongs to mobile commerce solutions — a future that looks bright for savvy retailers with an eye for driving online purchases.