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The Unstoppable Rise of mCommerce

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June 20 2013

Author: Simon Walker

With consumers expecting more of a consistent and efficient smartphone experience than ever, I’m sure we’ve all noticed the increasing demand for satisfactory m-commerce platforms. So what can retailers do to keep their customers satisfied?

Here are some of the most notable issues they’re currently facing, based on the results of UK specific research commissioned by Stibo Systems, along with a look towards the future of m-commerce.

Firstly, retailers need to stop thinking of m-commerce as an add-on to their existing channels, as this is certainly no longer the case. For example, online sales using a mobile trebled from 4% in 2011 to 12% in 2012. It’s also worth noting that 2012 was the year of the Christmas tablet, with statistics indicating a rise in sales of over 260%!

Looking at the research, one of the main gripes that consumers have with m-commerce is the lack of consistency between different retail sites. Over half argued that their experience of retail websites when using their mobile was good, but it largely depended on the site, with some retailers better at optimising their online content than others.

It’s also interesting to note how many consumers are using their mobile device as a browsing platform. As mentioned in my previous post 46% (twice as many as in 2011) said that they always or regularly use their mobile device to review or research products, a fact which retailers should take advantage of to target them with the right message, at the right time.

However, as I pointed out previously, one of the real problems lies with the size of mobile displays, with just under half of respondents complaining that they couldn’t satisfactorily read the information they needed. While retailers can do little about screen size, they can ensure that this is a consideration when designing their m-commerce experience, designing a clear, informative display that provides just enough detail.

And, providing the right level of product detail is another crucial issue for retailers, fulfilling the need for a consistent customer experience. When I shop online I certainly want to see the available color and sizes of what I am buying. And I’m not alone, with ¾ of consumers in agreement in this year’s survey.

So what does this all mean for retail? It’s clear that mobile is an important channel, and a tricky one to get right but nevertheless retailers need to commit a significant portion of their multichannel offering to mobile and ensure that the finer detail is available on mobile.

Looking towards the future, it is possible the physical store as we know it will become a place to merely try out a product with the actual purchase made a few minutes later on the mobile. Watch this space!

By Simon Walker, Stibo Systems, Director Ecommerce Innovation

 

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