2016 saw an interesting shift in the relationship between humans and their mobiles. They were doing all their searches and some big transactions on their handheld gadget. This phenomenon will have a huge impact on the retail world. Changes are driven by rapidly evolving consumers’ shopping behaviors and fast-paced technological advancements will give birth to some new habits and psychological behavior and it will change the narrative by which retails and even early movers in online e-commerce lured their customers.
Let’s take a look at some emerging key stats you may have missed, that simply confirms the mobile future of online shopping.
1. Over 64% of U.S. consumers today own a smartphone according to Pew Research and 80% of smartphone owners now use mobile to shop online.
2. From existing 35 crore Internet users by the end of 2015 in India, the number will double to 73 crores by the end of 2020, thereby maintaining their position of world’s 2nd largest Internet community after China.
3. Mobile digital media consumption (51%) is now significantly higher than desktop (42%).
4. 75% of new Internet users in India would be arriving from rural areas, where mobile connectivity and broadband expansion is triggering an unprecedented growth across all spectrum.
5. India has already beaten the USA in terms of the total number of Internet users, and thanks to the rural expansion of the Internet, this position will maintain.
6. Google rolled out on April 21st last year a “Mobile-friendly” update forcing website owners worldwide to make their sites work better on mobile devices, making a point to businesses on the growing importance of mobile for today’s consumers.
The Evolution & Contribution of the Smartphone in the Shopping Process
For years now, we have been using smartphones as pocket Web devices to research and search store locations, product reviews, find better deals, coupons and share the consumer experiences with the online community, the largest democracy in the world. In times to come, mobile phones will take a more prominent role by adding yet another functionality, which is mobile payment. In times to come, QR code processing with integrated payment at self-checkout counters in the offline retail will also take omnichannel shopping experience to the next level.
As millennials take over the world and the workplace, their digital habits will drive the retailers to find a new way of marketing, promotion, and sales. This year alone worldwide mobile spending is expected to roughly triple and reach $290 billion, but the moot point is that the retailers should be able to respond to this with intelligent alacrity. The biggest question is, are they ready?
The trend moving forward is to blend the digital and physical (Omnichannel marketing), showrooming & web-brooming and making the most and the best out of the strength of each channel and maximize the customer experience. This trend has completely disrupted the traditional retail business and the message on the wall is that retailers need to reinvent themselves now in the wake of an omnichannel shopping experience increasingly demanded by “I Want It All” consumers.
The Next Step Forward
It is clear that traditional retails have been left with no other option but to respond to the new disruptions with agility. It is not a choice anymore but a matter of survival. Business success hinges on the ability to recalibrate and pivot quickly and the ability to respond to the new reality. Jeff Bezos, CEO of the largest online retailer in the world, summarises it succinctly “In business, what’s dangerous is not to evolve.”.
1. Mobile-responsive Web apps are the latest “It” things. To expect businesses to have mobile-friendly websites is a basic requirement today. Searching for business, product or service information on any device is just the new normal. Business will lose out on the organic traffic if they do not have a good online presence and that means not an app but a web app, which can come up with the search engines.
2. The Mobile-friendly Content is on rising. With Google’s new emphasis on mobile-friendly search results, businesses must be able to create a great mobile (responsive) design and copywriting. Concise writing, use fewer but powerful images, create catchy/strong headlines, front load your most powerful content and use short paragraphs are a few tricks that content creators have to be mindful of while creating the content.
3. Responsive to a Multi-Screen World. Being Multi-screen responsive is an absolute requirement for the best user experiences possible based on the devices – smartphones, tablets, desktop or smart TV. Make sure that your content seamlessly travels through all the screens and your business is getting the attention it deserves. Present your information and choices in a clear, concise way that does not allow the user to waste a lot of time searching what they are looking. Don’t make them think!
4. Closing the loop of the Customer Experience through Mobile. As more and more people are using their phone to complete the entire transaction cycle, it is important to take the online commerce experience to the next level by connecting it more to mobile wallets. As mobile wallets have become a standard feature on all smartphones and more retailers accept proximity payment systems such as PayTM, Instamojo etc., adding special offers, coupons, rewards and loyalty programs to the experience becomes critical.