E-commerce is no longer the latest trend in online retail. It has now been replaced by m-commerce – shopping from the mobile phone. And this new concept envelops more than just offering your customers a mobile-ready website to do their shopping. People expect to find dedicated apps with various facilities helping them shop on the go with just one tap, or even by voice command.
The evolution of mobile shopping, encouraged by increasingly sophisticated devices and 4G mobile internet, is more obvious in Europe and Asia, but the US is fighting to catch up with them. According to the latest Criteo State of the Mobile Commerce 2016 report, the United States took 7th place on the list of countries with the largest volume of mobile use for shopping, with Japan, the United Kingdom and South Korea leading the top.
Catching up with the rest of the world is just a matter of time, though, as more and more Americans understand the advantages of saving time by using their mobile phones or tablets to shop while commuting or taking a break at the office. For retailers, mobile commerce is also beneficial, generating:
- 62% more traffic on e-commerce web and mobile apps;
- 33% higher conversion rates on the mobile apps compared to the website;
- 200% more return customers for the mobile app.
There is no doubt that m-commerce has become a formidable sales medium. Billions of people connect with their favorite companies through their phones, and companies have been investing in converting these interactions to sales. These investments have yielded direct benefits, which can be observed through the explosive growth of m-commerce.
In 2011, Forrester projected that m-commerce would quintuple over the course of five years. They were not mistaken.
Business Insider even forecasts that by 2020, mobile commerce will be a comparable size to e-commerce.
This data indicates one clear direction: companies need to know the latest developments and implement them into their mobile apps in order to encourage their customers to use them and do their shopping. So, what do your customers want and what do modern technologies offer in terms of enhancements for mobile ecommerce apps?
1. Advanced Anti-Fraud Protection
Online fraud remains one of the greatest concerns and deterrents people invoke to justify their lack of confidence in mobile shopping and payments. The attacks become more and more numerous, and the degree of sophistication used by fraudsters increases from year to year. In parallel, mobile internet security specialists are working just as hard as fraudsters to design complex security solutions for web and mobile apps. Thus, your mobile app needs to undergo periodical security audits and incorporate the latest security software.
This is a simple scenario: someone is sitting on the subway, commuting to work, and reading a fashion magazine article that features product placement. They see an item they like and they tap on its name. When they arrive home at the end of the day, the product is delivered to them. These are micro-moments, the ability to interact with content while consuming content, and turning the interaction into a purchase with one simple tap without having to leave the content page. More and more mobile apps integrate these interactions and allow their users to do their shopping seamlessly, without spending one second more than they are willing to spare.
3. Augmented Reality
Just a short few years ago, augmented reality was being promoted as a revolutionary technology, allowing users to visualize the way a certain product would look on them or in their house. Now, even street corner hair stylists can offer their clients the possibility of “trying on” a new haircut before they actually take scissors in their hands. AR should become a standard facility for any mobile e-commerce app in fashion retail – giving customers a virtual changing room to try products before buying them.
AR should become a standard facility for any mobile e-commerce app in fashion retail – giving customers a virtual changing room to try products before buying them. Goldman Sachs estimates that, worst case scenario, AR retail software will generate $1.6bn in revenue from $31.5m users within the next decade.
4. Voice Activated Search
Even tapping on a screen is too much for busy people in traffic, or rushing between one business meeting and another. Voice activation technology is already here, used mainly in cars and smart homes. Why would it not become a standard search feature for mobile apps? The key to success is simple: offer customers as little friction as possible in the process of searching for and buying products. What could be simpler than letting them speak to your app and build their shopping list quickly and conveniently?
5. Mobile Image Recognition
Pinterest has been toying with this new technology for a while, but it is only recently that companies started to look into it seriously. It works like this: a person is browsing a website or walking down the street, and they notice a product they like. They take a snapshot of that product and within seconds they receive various suggestions of identical or similar products for sale.
Ultimately, the aforementioned developments will have several impacts on the economy. The first area to change will be the process of buying things. To keep up with trends, vendors will have to make transactions easy to access and non-disruptive. AR, Micro Moments, and Mobile Image Recognition will likely be instrumental in achieving this goal. Their integration will revolutionize both e-commerce and m-commerce technology to make buying things seem like less of a time-consuming process and more like a painless action integrated into the flow of the day.
To keep up with the advancements in the process of buying things, the product delivery industry will likely see many technological improvements as well. Even now, Amazon is testing same-day drone delivery. They are also overseeing the development of Alexa, the leading platform for Voice Activated Search and Voice Activated Purchases.
While some of these new technologies are still under development, soon they will become a market standard for mobile e-commerce apps. Your company can certainly stay ahead of the game if you decide to become an early adopter, giving your customers a never-seen-before shopping experience.
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