A chart based on US Census Bureau and Comscore data was published by Business Insider. It shows Mobile Commerce growing three times faster than Ecommerce overall.
The numbers behind it are very interesting:
mobile commerce is on the rise and has registered a 48% YoY growth, in the second quarter. It now accounts for $8 billion in online spending.
overall ecommerce (including mobile commerce) grew “only” 15.9% year over year in the second quarter and totals $70.1 billion in online sales.
Stop betting on (just) mobile. We’re not there yet.
Smartphones and tablets have brought forth a revolution in computing and social interaction. Unfortunately for overenthusiastic mobile-only fans, mcommerce usage is lagging behind mobile device adoption.
If you look at the chart above you’ll see there’s a linear growth in mobile commerce. Not a hockey puck growth. Not even an accelerated growth.
Even more – ecommerce accounts for only 5.9% of all retail. Mobile commerce itself is just 11.4% of ecommerce. This means mobile commerce, however ambitious is pretty much insignifiant. It accounts for just 0.67% of total US retail.
Smartphones and tablets are extremely popular. Mobile commerce – not so much.
And hey – it’s not the fact that people don’t like smartphones. Oh no. People love smartphones:
They also love tablets. Almost 42% of all US adults own at least a tablet. Remember – this is a product that went on sale only 4 years ago, when Apple introduced the iPad. In just 4 short years, the tablet has become a virtually ubiquitous computing item for US adults.
So – people are buying mobile devices like crazy. PC sales are dropping yet the mobile commerce is just 0.67% .Why?
The short answer – there is no mobile commerce.
Mobile is the bridge. It helps connect the physical world to the virtual world. The act of purchasing happens on multiple channels. Mobile is not “the future”. It is the present yet the present comes in a form we have not met before – a bridge across channels.
If we take the time to see matters from the consumer’s point of view things are not as black and white as we expect them to be. Few if any consumers think in terms of mobile OR desktop OR brick and mortar. The consumer will spend time in a B&M store, browse the web to search for the right products, do a little showrooming to find the be best pricing. In the end, the whole purchasing experience stretches across channels and some are more popular than others.
But the customer has only one perspective where channels blend in. The omnichannel perspective. To provide the ecosystem for this perspective, the new retailers will try to understand and implementomnichannel retail because mobile, however massive, is just a piece of the puzzle.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past 5 years you’ve probably heard about these two buzz-words – “mobile” and “mcommerce” (or mobile commerce). Usually retailers use them together because hey – that’s what retailers do – sell stuff to people. Now that a new channel is here let’s just go ahead and grab it. Well – maybe that’s not the best way to go.
You see – people tend to think of their mobile phone as something quite personal. It’s always there in their hands or pockets, it holds their most private conversations and information, it’s there when they go to sleep, it’s there when they go to bed.
Not many think in the same terms about retailers or shopping. Shopping is less of an addiction (except for those shoes, ladies) and more of a mix between (1) necessity, (2) convenience and (3)marketing induced propensity to buy. Nothing really personal there so don’t expect your customers to download your app, browse the products and buy after. Oh, and mean while, if you do expect that – don’t push notifications unless they actually ask for it.
When building a mobile app – do more than replicate your online store
Say you’ve built an online store for your brick-and-mortar operations a couple of years ago. By now you’ve probably seen a healthy increase in sales and you’re quite confident in online retailing overall so you decide to invest in a mobile application to handle mobile users’ needs. You decide that the logical thing to do is build an mobile app to showcase your products and let your users buy from that app.
That’s what usually retailers do but not what users want – remember the personal attachment people have to their phones?
build a responsive design to handle desktop users, mobile users, tablet users
adapt that design to fit each type of device
make payments as easy as possible and as secure as you can for mobile users
Now that you’ve covered the basics, while not boring or forcing your users to adapt to your store packed a native application, let’s make your mobile experience personal:
1. Make it useful
The smartphone is nothing if not useful. You can use it as a music player, email reader, browser, game console and dozens of other things. Your app should be useful. Here are a couple of examples as how companies made their apps useful to the targeted audience and changed the way customers thought of them:
Uber connects passengers and drivers. Changes the way they connect.
Alright – Uber is not actually a retailer but we need not think in terms of black and white. What Uber handles extremely well is a customer need and delivers to that need as well as it’s expected. Note that its mobile approach is just a means to an end: customer satisfaction.
Amazon is sure it can outmatch brick and mortar competitors’ price. Launches barcode scanner app to prove it.
Amazon handles a huge inventory. If there’s any product out there that has a barcode attached to it, chances are you can buy it on Amazon with one click. The company makes that easy with its barcode scanning app – find a product, check the barcode and find it on Amazon. Easy and useful.
2. Make it fun
The Amazon Kindle is a disruptive mobile strategy that changes the way we read (and buy) books.
Back to Amazon – ever thought about the Kindle as a store? No? Because it’s one of the best stores out there. You can’t see the cash register but it is there. It is hidden behind that great mobile device / mobile app that allows you to read your favorite books (and purchase more of them), but it is there. It’s so good that it helped Amazon reach a point where, in some markets, it already sells more eBooks than paperback.
Talk about fun…
3. Make it local
Let’s just assume that not all shoppers are inclined to buy online or rather more – some of them need to find a product quickly, in their nearby area. The want the product now and are willing to drive to the local store to buy it. Here comes Shop Nearby, by The Find.
The application makes it easy for you to find a certain product in your close area or browse through all shops nearby.
4. Make it Personal
Last but not least. Make it personal. It has to be personal because mobile devices are personal items and apps should be personal also.
Gilt understood this when they launched …
Gilt personalized shopping
“Our goal is to make it even easier for members to discover products they love while they are on the go” said Steve Jacobs, Chief Information Officer at Gilt.com
Gilt.com is, as you probably know, one of the largest fashion flash sales retailers online. With a huge database filled with customer information and purchase history they can make their approach to sales chic and personal again.
When Gilt.com was launched it served as a private venue for brands to unload their unsold inventory. It used to be private and quite a little secret for Gilt’s members. Once the store got bigger and bigger they found they were unable to cope with users need for short-stock brand clothing. Even more – they couldn’t handle selling premium brands discreetly, something their suppliers were not really happy with.
Now that the personalized shopping has been launched, users can get special (and by that I do mean special) deals, based on their purchase history.
What’s not to love about a store that handles a one-on-one relationship with millions of customers?