We’ve all heard of eCommerce, but mCommerce may be an unfamiliar term to some. Whilst mCommerce, or Mobile Commerce, is a type of eCommerce, it refers specifically to brands and consumers operating on mobile devices. mCommerce is becoming increasingly important for online retail and digital marketing since it is projected that the worldwide m-commerce share in e-commerce could reach 72.9% by the end of 2021.
mCommerce websites and apps are used not only for buying goods but also for researching the market, comparing prices between other brands, and forming part of an overall omnichannel user experience that is heavily linked to social media platforms.
What this means for brands is that now more than ever, it’s vital that not only their eCommerce sites are optimised for mobile, but that they invest in the development of mobile apps as well. Even for smaller-scale local businesses, investing in mCommerce is key for continued customer discovery as more and more people are using their smartphones as their primary search device.
Whilst this may seem like a significant investment for brands who have so far held off on dedicating more effort to mCommerce, the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the change in consumer behaviours. mCommerce is not simply a trend but how much retail will be conducted in the future. We look at some of the trends in mCommerce and how brands can leverage them for increased success.
Whilst optimising existing eCommerce websites for mobile is essential, creating a mobile-friendly app can bring massive advantages to a business. In fact, whilst the cart abandonment rate for mCommerce websites is 97%, this figure drops significantly to just 20% cart abandonment for mobile apps. However, although around 67% of consumers have already downloaded a retail app onto their smartphones, it can be difficult for brands to keep users engaged.
One reason for the clear consumer preference for mobile apps over mCommerce sites is that there is a more significant potential for businesses to introduce one-click purchasing. By requiring users only to enter their details once and then save their data securely once in the app, they can instantly purchase with a single click. In addition, this streamlining of the checkout process could be why there is far less cart abandonment within mobile apps. One study suggests that up to 28% of shoppers will abandon a cart because the checkout process is too long or complicated.
Integrating Mobile Wallets
Businesses need to accommodate changing consumer behaviour, and one which has already become prevalent is mobile wallets. One report suggests that by 2022 mobile wallets will become the second most common form of payment after debit cards. So, when it comes to developing and maintaining mobile apps, common payment forms such as Apple Pay, Android Pay, and PayPal should be included in the platform. Whilst there is some debate about the security of this payment format, biometric checks will likely become the norm for using these one-click or tap-to-pay systems.
A.R. & A.I. Chatbots
Keeping customers engaged in mobile apps and making these applications useful can be a challenge. However, with more companies choosing to integrate AR and AI technologies within their systems, the possibilities are vast.
With 54% of shoppers claiming they would prefer a chatbot over a human assistant if this saved them time, chatbots seem like a simple first step to making mobile apps more interactive. With many eCommerce sites already using AI, such as chatbots, moving existing structures to a new format is less daunting. It may also help offset the cost of developing an app for mobile since investing in one chatbot software allows for 24hr customer service without relying on large teams.
AR, or augmented reality, is an excellent way for brands to showcase their products personally. AR can add real value to a mobile app. Whether it demonstrates how a piece of furniture works in the customer’s own space or helping to assess the best fit in clothing, shoes or make-up before purchasing. When it comes to mCommerce, A.R. has accounted for $120 billion in sales.
In-Store App Experience
However, not everything can be virtual and with shoppers returning to brick-and-mortar stores, some brands might wonder why they should still invest in mobile apps. Integrating the mobile experience IRL can be very effective. For example, offering special discount codes to scan in-store or a points system visible on an app dashboard can be an incentive for shoppers to purchase using both systems. Furthermore, there is the potential to send notifications when customers enter physical stores and give suggestions, etc., in real-time, meaning that brands engage with customers no matter where they are. Shopify has reported that 82% of smartphone users consult their devices when purchasing in-store.
We couldn’t mention mobile optimisation without talking about social media and social commerce. With around 60% of consumers using social media to research new products or services, taking an omnichannel approach into account is key for successfully creating a mCommerce strategy. Due to the rise in shoppable posts and consumers’ reliance on social channels for product discovery and reviews, your customers are likely already using smartphones to explore your brand. Therefore, by offering a seamless path-to-purchase experience where consumers don’t need to switch devices, businesses can streamline their conversions.
Whilst mobile apps can be very effective, running a mCommerce website in conjunction with an app is very important. Consumers still use search engines to discover brands and competitors and are often a vital part of the path-to-purchase journey. For example, up to 61% of emails are opened on smartphones, meaning that optimising eCommerce websites for mobile is key since the email will most likely direct the user to a product page.
It is estimated that around 86% of consumers search the Internet to find local businesses. In addition, location ads are often served on mobile devices whilst people are on the go and looking for a specific product or service. Without a mCommerce website, consumers will turn to other competitors, which could affect businesses foot traffic to their brick and mortar locations. mCommerce websites can also encourage shoppers to visit with reviews and special in-store offers – all of which can boost sales.
Voice Search SEO
One study suggests that 22% of people use voice search to make an online purchase, whilst 51% use it to research products. With mobile devices offering improved voice activation technologies, more users rely on this method when it comes to mCommerce. 20% of all searches from mobile devices are voice searches. This means that optimising mCommerce websites for voice search is key to increasing conversion rates and engaging new users.
Overall, there are many advantages to making sure that mCommerce websites are up-to-date and developing engaging mobile retail apps. The changing landscape of online shopping means that more people rely on mobile devices for search, discovery, research and purchase. With all systems predicting that mCommerce will grow as time goes on, it seems like a good time for brands to review their mobile offerings.
Written and researched by Paige Elford, Digital Marketing Graduate