As history has taught us about media and technology in the past, with the introduction of any new technology, we’ll always have the initial hype and scare that life, as we know it will never be the same. But eventually, instead of disappearing into the shadows, the old medium will be forced to adapt to live simultaneously with new emerging technology.
What does this mean for the future of e-commerce? The desktop is not obsolete; rather it’s going to have to change its mechanisms to make room for the new powerhouse in the commerce arena. Growing at a steep rate, mobile currently accounts for 29% of eCommerce transactions in the US and 34% globally. The end of 2015 forecasts mobile share to reach 33% in the US, and 40% globally.
There are two main avenues behind this growth;
1. Virtual Engagement
2. Faster Transactions
Two channels are available via mCommerce where there’s only one with eCommerce because the mobility allows you to actually purchase goods in store with your mobile device where you wouldn’t carry around your laptop to checkout. According to the VP of Marketing at AppsFlyer Ran Avrahamy, “when thinking about omnichannel efforts and point of sale purchases, mobile is the connecting link. Retailers who begin to deploy in-store beacons for their marketing teams are beginning to see attribution from mobile campaigns and are optimizing their in-store consumer shopping experience.”
The Omni-channel Customer Experience
It used to be that retailers would build their own specialized mobile sites to provide their consumers with a way to view their products on their smartphones. These sites had terribly slow connections, and were frustrating for users to interact with and make actual purchases. Now that we have more reliable mobile devices, retailers have provided a more intuitive approach to mobile commerce. Today’s mobile devices bring together all of the channels to one platform combining phone, text, Web, social, email, apps, and video.
The user’s customer experience should flow seamlessly from platform to platform, whether they’re engaging from their mobile device, tablet, PC, or in the storefront they should have the same ease and accessibility. Although people are beginning to do more and more from their mobile devices everyday, there still remains certain tasks that will always be easier done with full visual context and an actual keyboard. This makes your customer’s journey through the sale cycle far from linear, people are winding and turning through online and off, mobile and desktop, in the office and at home, etc.
When you connect the dots correctly, omnichannel solutions can gather valuable data from each unique channel and help to build an aggregated cross-channel profile for your customers. You should be able to recognize customers whether it be via your app, visiting your website, text message/push notification, in your physical location, or on the phone. Furthermore, you should be able to use this data from the interaction to make your marketing efforts more relevant and focused.
For many customers the website is still the first online point of contact with the brand, and in store physical encounters still account for 94% of all sales, proving the non-linearity and importance of omnichannel consistency for today’s consumers.
Reading Between the Lines
Your omnichannel strategy becomes ever more important when we read between the lines. Looking at mobility’s impact on the eCommerce industry is not limited to mCommerce apps, or shoppers buying on mobile sites. In fact, perhaps the greatest influence of mobile on platform is actually on in-store shoppers. In a new study by Deloitte, mobile influence was attributed to one trillion dollars in sales on in-store purchases.
Customers are still heavily reliant on mobile devices to help make their shopping decisions in the store. The research performed while on the mobile device has been shown to have a bigger effect on in-store conversion rates than mCommerce conversions alone. Many retailers are beginning to focus more on improved mobile apps that allow shoppers to browse product information, and other tools to engage and influence shoppers at every age of the buying cycle.
The Deloitte survey on Mobile Influence shows that 85 percent of consumers surveyed who used a retailer’s native app or site during their most recent shopping trip actually made a purchase that day, compared to only 64 percent who didn’t use the retailer’s app or site. That’s a huge increase (21 percent) in conversion rates.
The Fortune Teller
Not only are there many predictions on the floor that expect 2015 to be the year that mobile will finally take over PC in the share of total eCommerce spending, but our psychic friend Google is giving us some headway that leads us to believe something pretty major is coming.
Google coming out with their “Buy” button to rival Amazon and eBay only to be introduced on mobile platforms is predictive of what’s yet to come. The button would be placed along side sponsored search results, and once clicked upon the user will be taken to a specific Google landing page where they can select item specifics i.e. size, color, etc.
Leading up to the Google Buy, Google had debuted their links to food delivery, table reservations, and appointment-booking services via Google Search and Google Maps. These are Google’s latest endeavors to adapt to consumers’ mobile behavior, after the company officially confirmed that more searches come through on mobile than on desktop.
Google’s trendsetting capabilities, and unique ability to predict the future’s next big thing leads us to believe there’s only one direction the future of e-commerce could possibly be going. From desktop to thumbtop, whether you’re an innovationist who loves change or you’re more old-fashioned sticking to what you know, the future is quickly approaching. How are you going to make the most of the new mobile approaches to commerce?
This article was written by Yoav Vilner from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.