If you have not heard about mobile commerce or m-commerce, you are already a bit late to the party. The steady shift of retail from offline to online seems to have culminated into the world of smartphones, tablets and smart wearables. And it was a well-expected change. With the rise of the smartphone era, internet shopping has become as fundamental an amenity as a phone itself. This means everything from ordering take-out to buying your next smartphone can and is being done from your current smartphone. What does this mean to the world of online retail?
When mobile phones were first introduced to the market, no one could have fathomed how indispensable they would become to contemporary human life. Today, owning a smartphone makes you a part of not just a lifestyle, but also a colossal economic superstructure. Mobile commerce is just a fraction of this, but in the context of modern retail, it seems to be an unstoppable force. The numbers say it all. In US and UK markets, mobile retail sales account for more than 25% market share in 2015. Moreover, no single device owns more than 20% of total e-commerce market share. The conclusion is simply that mobile commerce cannot be ignored.
So let’s look at some of the basics of mobile commerce and a few things that you can do to gain a sure footing in this territory.
How to Enter Mobile Commerce?
Segregate the Market
As we saw in the figures above, mobile commerce is steadily eating up the net e-commerce market share. Some may dismiss mobile commerce by saying that at the end of the day, a sale is a sale whether it came from a mobile device or a computer. You would have to visit the same website on either device, right? Although they would not be technically wrong, there is a major factor one has to consider.
According to this Economic Times report, India will have more than 651 million smartphone users by 2019. It is already the second largest smartphone market in the world. Considering the fact that most smartphone users prefer to shop using their phones rather than a computer, it is necessary for you to devise strategies specifically for smartphones. This has to start with the basics – segmentation, personalisation and customisation. This is about fundamentally changing the ways of thinking about the market, because the technology itself is changing the market fundamentally.
Design for Mobile
Many online retailers are wary of the idea of building an app for their enterprise because it can be quite expensive to do so. Although that is true, making an app is not the only thing you can do to enter the mobile market. Again, we go back to basics – the most apparent change due to the mobile transition is that now data can be viewed on multiple screens with different dimensions.
This does not sound like too pressing an issue, but just try to book a ticket on irctc using your mobile phone and you will see exactly what I am talking about. There is a lot of innovation that has gone into the development and design of responsive mobile websites, that don’t take anything away from the user experience regardless of the device being used.
Making an App
Making your own app is actually not such a bad idea. The decision to do so is dependent on a few key factors. Resources are of course a consideration, but more importantly, the nature of your product or service should be a pivotal factor.
For example, if you offer a niche product, or a small range of products, an app might not be the best idea. It is difficult to think of somebody downloading an app that just sells raincoats, for example. If you do decide to build an app for your enterprise, understand that it is a long-term investment. Apps and mobile sites are where the really power of mobile commerce truly shows.
Mobiles are the most personal computing devices we own, and a shopping experience there has to be equally personal. To cater this means to build an app that remembers stuff like the customer’s name, their interests, past searches, past transactions, and utilises this information to intelligently assist customer while shopping. Else, your app is nothing but a glorified sales window.
Driving Traffic to Mobile
After you set up your mobile commerce real estate, it is important to drive traffic there. In the long run, you would benefit from your customers shopping from your app/mobile site as compared to from a computer. This is because as I mentioned in the previous point, mobile commerce really banks on the personalisation aspect of sales. This 2012 article states that 40% of all online sales are a result of impulse buys. This is an eye-opening statistic, because it is much easier to harvest this impulse buying impulse through mobile as compared to traditional e-commerce. Also, mobile notifications are much less annoying as compared to spam emails.
To know more about mobile commerce, get in touch with Browntape. We are India’s leading online retail solutions providers and we are always happy to help!