eCommerce is nothing new, but mobile commerce is quickly emerging as a booming avenue for shopping and brands have had to adapt to this shift in consumer behavior.
During the holiday shopping period over the last few years, you may or may not have noticed something a bit different about your shopping habits and experience. Instead of going out to the stores for the doorbuster sales on Black Friday, you instead, went straight on your phone after a large Thanksgiving meal and perused for hours on end, continuing the activity into Black Friday.
The Monday following Thanksgiving, Cyber Monday, you sat on the train during your commute, opening one of the many the Cyber Monday emails from your iPhone out of curiosity. You ended up buying something on a whim because, how could you not? It was such a good deal and so easy. Throughout all these mobile actions taken while shopping, you didn’t even think twice this year about what you were doing—our mobile way of life has become so normal and the ways in which we consume and buy things is now driven by the mobile technology available to us and to retailers.
Adapting to the Mobile Consumer
Connected technology provided in our mobile devices has allowed us to run our lives remotely—we’re working from our laptops, ordering food on our tablet and shopping from our phones. eCommerce is nothing new, but mobile commerce is quickly emerging as a booming avenue for shopping and brands have had to adapt to this shift in consumer behavior.
Businesses without a website, specifically a mobile-friendly one and a page on the Yelp app are finding it hard to compete. Those with the times are furthermore creating dedicated mobile apps for consumers to shop through and participating in social media on mobile because they understand that is where the eyeballs are.
Over the past decade, as the internet has grown exponentially, companies have increasingly used it to sell their goods and services online and there are many large companies, such as Amazon and eBay, who successfully conduct all their business on the Web. Of course, selling online has a number of advantages compared with more traditional methods. The Internet is a global marketplace, so an online shop has the potential to reach a worldwide audience.
Your business can be open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, accepting and processing orders throughout the night without your intervention. And the lack of supervision allows you to cut costs, which can translate into savings for your customers, giving your business a competitive edge. Finally, because you can store the goods in a large warehouse away from the city centre, you will be able to keep your stock up to date and in greater quantities, so that any orders can be shipped without delay. Your ecommerce wing will only be successful if it is managed effectively, however.
If your operation is a large one and has its own IT and marketing teams you should be able to set up an online commercial wing without difficulty. Building your own ecommerce operation allows you to maintain close links with your existing ordering and inventory systems and permits a greater level of customization both in terms of the features and look of the store and the back-end interface. However ecommerce is quite a specialised field requiring a level of expertise and can take a considerable amount of time to implement properly. The level of ongoing maintenance that is required can also be a drain on your internal resources. An alternative might be to have your ecommerce software hosted by an external company, although this might result in your site having a generic look and there being restrictions about how much you can change it.
A better way of launching an ecommerce service is to hire a ecommerce consultancy to give you advice and assistance regarding the implementation and day to day running of the site so it can be easily maintained without any special skills being required. But which consultant to choose? Well, perhaps the best way of selecting a consultant to suit your needs is to run through a checklist of the various services they offer and establish what is included in the standard consultancy fee.
Mobile has given brands an outlet to engage customers in extremely effective ways and has driven innovation in how this happens. Successful retailers understand how crucial it is to gain a social media presence since more and more users are hopping on social media apps everyday. New ways to shop via social, such as Instagram with its Like2Buy platform, are gaining popularity along with instant customer service through applications like Twitter.
Companies are also getting creative with the content they used to get their potential customers to interact with them. T-Mobile, for instance, created an interactive holiday quiz to boost engagement with the brand and website while also giving site visitors mobile holiday gift ideas as a result of taking the quiz.
Data Translates to Sales
The more mobile is used the more data becomes a player in the purchase decision as well as on the marketing strategy side. When customers shop at a brick-and-mortar stores they often tap into their smartphone while in the aisles to compare prices of other retailers, all thanks to the constant connectivity mobile provides.
The end outcome produces a purchase decision where mobile commerce has come into play as a key component. With mobile technology, retailers can capture endless information and analytics of their target demographic and build mobile strategies that cater to the mobile behavior patterns observed.
Mobile, data and connectivity have created a seamless shopping experience through eCommerce. Shoppers are targeted with relevant mobile ads and videos that then direct them to further explore a product and ultimately click to buy—mobile has built a stage for shopping to become a smooth intuitive experience that makes sense with mobile user activity.
The force is with mobile when it comes to driving eCommerce success. Retailers and consumers alike are welcoming mobile commerce with open arms and the momentum won’t be stopping anytime soon.