I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: I love my phone. It’s always around, it’s always on and it’s also a great way to shop. M-commerce, or shopping with your smartphone, is poised for mass adoption thanks to a host of technological advances that are making it easier for people to shop on their phones.
By Charles Brewer, CEO DHL eCommerce.
More and more people are doing their online shopping on a smartphone rather than a desktop and it’s becoming increasingly important for e-tailers to find ways to make it more attractive. M-commerce is literally becoming the new e-commerce. And where once only millennials dared to tread, now every age group is getting in on the act.
For e-tailers and logistics providers, this represents a paradigm shift, especially since mobile traffic (primarily smartphones and tablets) will eventually account for the lion’s share of e-commerce sales.
The fact is, mobile traffic overtook desktop as far back as 2014, with smartphones now surpassing tablets as our preferred browsing, if not shopping,option. Why? Because we can’t leave the things alone. And, no matter whether we’re lying in bed or sitting on the train, we’re always itching to browse and buy products. It’s as if we carried a shopping mall around in our pockets.
“I’m convinced m-commerce will eventually reach everyone and become the de facto way we shop – it’s just a matter of time.”
Not all plain surfing
Countries with a high affinity for online sales, such as the UK, also rank high for mobile transactions. According to Facebook, in the States, the people behind these transactions are most likely to be millennials, mums and multiculturals. But that doesn’t mean we should write off other online shoppers as evidence also suggests that, like everyone else, they too are not impervious to the temptations of the pocket shopping mall.
In fact, I’m convinced m-commerce will eventually reach everyone and become the de facto way we shop – it’s just a matter of time.
Nevertheless, despite the very clear trend towards m-commerce,many challenges and drawbacks still exist vs. desktop. Chief amongst these is the fact that smartphone screens don’t provide e-tailers with a lot of space to display their wares. Consequently, while we’re happy to browse we are generally more likely to go through with a sale when sitting at a desktop or tablet. Some research puts the difference between conversion rates at 1.5% for smartphones and 4.3% for desktops.
One of the key drivers to growing m-commerce share has been the advent of faster continuous mobile broadband and phones with bigger screens.
Making mobile better
Aside from a persistent shopping itch, one of the key drivers to growing m-commerce share has been the advent of faster continuous mobile broadband and phones with bigger screens. That said, to grow sales further e-tailers need to make our mobile shopping experience even better. After all, screens can’t get much bigger than they already are.
So here are four of my tips for e-tailers on how to improve the m-commerce shopping experience for customers:
- Personalise the shopping experience with AI: Familiar to us from Facebook, AI uses our customer data to personalise what we see on our screens, putting those products in front of us which we are most likely to buy.
- Invest in a dedicated shopping app: research shows that most mobile sales now take place on dedicated apps rather than online shops. They offer more convenience, speed and personalisation. Messaging features such as push notifications also make reaching audiences with new information or offers easy. Once installed they also deliver very good retention and conversion rates.
- Make it fast: Page loading times are vital since delays of just a few fractions of a second are often all it takes to lose a sale. Google launched Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) in 2015 which helps drive sales by providing users with a smooth more engaging mobile shopping experience. To encourage e-tailers even more, Google now also penalises sites that are not mobile-friendly while rewarding those that are.
- Make sure it’s seen: Mobile is fast moving and it is important for e-tailers to keep on top of mobile trends and know where their audiences are spending their time. Facebook and Instagram are valuable platforms in this regard, with relatively high numbers of people making mobile transactions after discovering products there. But, as always, it’s a case of keeping your ears pricked and knowing where your people are.
With a just few more tweaks, m-commerce promises to become a rewarding shopping experience for all of us. So remember, the smart shopping of tomorrow will be on a smartphone!
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