Remember the time when people used to wait for the weekend to go out for a little shopping? Trying to avoid peak hours by carefully planning the best store route? While the occasional stroll around the mall or city centre still has its charm, it’s no news that the shopping experience has changed globally. eCommerce has been skyrocketing for the past decade, and by 2016 we will see a nearly 50% increase in penetration of retail sales, reaching 9.3% (from 6.5% today) and surpassing $1 trillion worldwide (according to a Morgan Stanley report).
But it doesn’t end there. Can you guess how many people currently use a smartphone to do their online shopping? A lot. And via apps most of the time. mCommerce was meant to be the next frontier for online purchases, and so it is. With a forecast of $34.2 billion to be generated by the end of 2014 (up from $21 billion in 2012), mobile shopping makes ends meet between the ever-so-fast consumer with high expectations and the retail industry looking to grow and expand their offering.
And if you’re still not quite convinced, maybe these stats from ComScore will do the trick :
- 80% of visits to online retail sites (like Amazon, eBay and Etsy on mobile devices) are made through Apps
- 80% of mobile device usages is dedicated to apps vs. mobile web browsers
- Coupon sites get 88% of their traffic from mobile devices
So what’s in it for the retailers to invest in mobile apps?
Cross-channel promotion is likely to generate cross-channel sales, boosting ROI significantly.
A good app makes for an even better shopping experience. If your customers find it easy to use, they’ll keep using it.
Going beyond the occasional sale is hard for the most. An app allows your brand to follow your customers and make them feel valued through special deals, push notifications, feedback forms and more.
Visibility, satisfaction and ultimately loyalty all elevate your brand awareness. If you know and value your customers, they’ll become your best advocates for those who aren’t yet.
That said, here’s 5 things retailers can do to make the magic happen with mCommerce:
1 – Tailor the messages
Everybody likes a special deal, an unexpected offer or a fun event to attend, right? Your customers might have already shopped in your store, but a push notification saying “40% off boots this saturday only” when it’s about to get cold, is likely to get them spending again. Take advantage of geolocation, iBeacons, holiday times and feedback from your users to craft dedicated messages to push out, regarding online and in-store deals, fresh news, invites to special events and much more!
2 – Save your users’ time (and improve the fun)
A great thing about apps is that they are somewhat personal: they’re on your phone and you use them when you feel like it. The next step down that road is allowing users to interact with what they find on the app to create their own content. For example shopping lists, wishlists or a selection of gift ideas. Make sure their experience goes beyond the tapping and paying.
3 – Be social
We’ve said it many times: happy customers make for great testimonials. And many users like to share the image of an item they like or even a whole shopping wish list on their social networks. Enable social login options into your app in order to make social sharing easy. At the same time, allow reviews of your products (which can also be shared) and get extra feedback from your users’ friends and followers through rating systems.
4 – Allow in-store pick up
Many top retailers with a mobile app integrate the option to collect purchased items in-store, often promoting it as a great way to save on shipping costs. A big percentage of mCommerce fans consider receiving their purchases at home as the greatest of benefits, but a big chunk of them also just wants to save time, preferring to collect the items in-store right away, when available.
5 – Go beyond the sale
It’s no secret that for the best of businesses, customers don’t just buy the products – they also believe in the brand. Mobile apps can help build an experience that goes beyond the purchase by giving users even more than what they asked for. If you’re a water sports retail store, consider giving out news on worldwide competitions or weather forecasts for the hottest water sports locations.
What else is waiting around the bend?
It’s called ‘showrooming‘. The savviest retailers are going a step further and crafting mobile features aimed specifically at in-store shoppers, turning around the so-long-feared habit of coming in-store just to check items that will then be bought online. For example, Wal-Mart Stores have a geo-fencing mobile app that recognizes when a user is physically nearby, also allowing QR Code scanning of the products and easy check out. Thanks to the app’s ‘store mode’ the retail giant is now getting 12% of its online revenue from actual in-store customers.
For more info on how to make the most out of mCommerce, download our free ebook.