The way we engage with the world has changed dramatically. Mobile devices have become integral to our daily functioning. This is not limited to only smartphones. It also includes tablets and wearables such as watches, jewellery and intelligent clothing.
On average a person checks his or her phone 150 to 200 times a day. With more than 2 billion smartphones in use, these are fast becoming the primary way in which many interact with the world.
Currently 50% of Google searches are done on mobile devices. Many have an element of urgency and users want instant results.
Mobile commerce now makes up 34% of all e-commerce and this number is on an upward trend. Having a mobile presence is essential for the modern business. By designing this presence well, it will be possible to take full advantage of this opportunity.
Key to the success of m-commerce is the user experience. Customers are becoming increasingly sophisticated and have high expectations. They want their experience to be seamless, integrated and on demand. Designing a better experience for shoppers is key to success.
Speed is vitally important. Even a 1 second delay in the opening of an app or a page can result in users leaving the site or abandoning their cart. A small delay on a site results in lower conversion rates, less page views, a decrease in cart size and a higher bounce rate.
The design of the site is very important. Information should be instantly accessible and displayed in one place. For example, if a potential customer has to go looking for shipping information, you could well lose them. User-generated content, such as product reviews and comments, are also important.
Sign-in options that are seamless and easy for the customer are key. No-one should have to remember passwords and battle with authentication. Sign in through options such as Twitter, Facebook or Google greatly reduce frustration and helps to retain users.
The success of mobile commerce relies on the positive experience of the user. This means it is necessary for companies to invest in research, innovation and development. There are, however, some very real technical challenges with the mobile operating environment that must be addressed if it is to reach its potential.
With mobile technology there is little standardisation. This means that there are many different devices, platforms and networks to contend with. This lack of standardisation hampers and slows innovation. A further challenge is presented by the size of the mobile device. There is only a small screen to make use of. The resolution of the screen is poor and this varies from one device to another. Other constraints include weak processors and limited memory. The high cost of mobile data is another limiting factor. This cost is slowly decreasing but it still remains very high.
Overcoming these technology challenges is sure to accelerate the growth and uptake of this channel.
At the heart of future trends there are a few characteristics. User expectations are very high. People are demanding a personal experience. Convenience and choice is key. If you cannot deliver or meet expectations, customers will go elsewhere.
Some specific examples of this include the following:
Online sales will continue to increase in 2017 and the most growth will occur through apps. Some estimates peg this growth at as much as 200%.
Customers research products and services on the mobile web but when it comes to the actual purchasing, mobile apps are becoming the preferred choice of loyal customers.
Apps offer a more personal and streamlined user experience. Better engagement is possible. Shopping through apps is secure, easy, fast and convenient. The result: more conversions. Companies that do not offer an app could find themselves lagging behind.
Customer expectations with regard to the delivery of their purchases are higher than ever. Many expect same day delivery, and for most of these, this means delivery within 3 hours.
Raising the bar further are companies like Amazon and Google. The race is on to develop the capability to deliver packages by drone. Their aim is to be able to deliver purchases within minutes of a customer placing the order. Most importantly there should be no additional cost for delivery, and it must be at the bidding of the customer.
Customers also want choices. These should at least include three options: same-day delivery, pick-up from store for an online purchase, and delivery by the store for an in-store purchase.
If you are not able to meet these expectations and provide this level of service, expect customers to do their mobile shopping elsewhere.
Many customers are becoming wary of paying for online purchases with a credit card. The abandonment rate when a customer is forced to pay using a credit card is as high at 80%.
People are looking for alternative payment methods. It is imperative to provide options such as PayPal, AliPay, Apple Pay or Google Wallet. Better still are direct app payments as these are seamless and secure.
Today’s user only wants to see information that is relevant, tailored and interesting. Artificial Intelligence is key to ensuring that notifications and product information is personal and targeted. Bulk email and broadcast communication is no longer effective. This means that companies need to curate and tailor for each specific user.
Companies need to be responsive to the needs of their customers. For example, if a potential customer has a question, it must be answered immediately. Channels for this include technology such as Live Chat.
M-commerce presents many exciting opportunities for the future. To take full advantage of this, companies need to make the marketing of their mobile offering their key strategy. This requires investment in this technology and the development of a mobile app. The modern consumer expects a highly-sophisticated app experience and those that are able to deliver this will reap the rewards.
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