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The Future Of Commerce Is Mobile

This article is part of CMO.com’s November series about commerce and consumerism. Click here for more.

It wasn’t long ago that brick-and-mortar retailers saw the rise of mobile usage and m-commerce as the gravest of threats. Why would consumers, especially those who are younger and tech-savvy, want to leave the warmth of their beds to fight hordes of people when they can shop from their mobile phones? But progressive retailers around the world have embraced mobile, and it’s crucial that others follow in their footsteps.

The Importance Of M-Commerce
M-commerce has had a huge impact on shopper habits in the last few years, and it’s not slowing down. Gen Z is at the forefront of this change—82% shop on their mobiles, and this will only increase as future generations grow older. Alongside being the most mobile-savvy, Gen Z is also one of the most demanding generations, wanting everything immediately. M-commerce delivers the fast-paced results consumers now request—and on a global scale.  

In December 2016, m-commerce sales rose 47% year on year in the U.K., and this is not dissimilar around the world. The transactional value of m-commerce has slowly grown, taking over from e-commerce in certain areas. Globally, advertisers generating transactions on mobile websites and in apps see more than 50% of transactions completed on mobile.

The rise of consumers using mobiles has a lot do with brands—including John Lewis, Etsy, ASOS, and Lush—leading the way with effective customer experience via their mobile apps and sites. The retail brands that didn’t innovate rapidly saw a decrease in customer retention, and their services soon became obsolete.

The Benefits Are More Than You Think
Nobody can deny that m-commerce and e-commerce have hit some retailers harder than others. However, certain retailers have incorporated the role of mobile to enhance the in-store experience and, ultimately, improve their sales. There are many great examples of mobile and retail symmetry. Screwfix, U.K.’s retailer of trade tools and hardware products, has utilised mobile click-and-collect services to increase sales by 25% at one point during the year.

However, as with many areas of mobile innovation, it is some of the tactics being employed by retailers in Asia that are the most interesting. Apps such as WeChat and Alipay are making the process of sourcing products and paying in-store seamless. To retain in-store shoppers, retailers need to ensure the experience is a pleasurable one.

Where Is M-Commerce Heading?
Every day people are relying more and more on their mobiles or tablets. M-commerce isn’t going anywhere, and it has been predicted by 2020 that it will reach 45% of total e-commerce sales. AI is one way that retailers can prepare for the future. With consumers having less time for browsing and wanting instant gratification, retailers can use AI to ensure the right products are put in front of the correct target audience, and with a smaller screen.

More retailers will create apps to drive customer acquisition, and it has also been proved that apps are more effective than websites at converting traffic into sales.

Don’t Ignore This Progression
It is crucial for brands to be prepared for this shift in consumer behavior. With technology advancing at a rapid rate, brands need to be agile and prepared to invest in m-commerce rather than just e-commerce. Mobile marketing strategies will evolve and become less focused on the mobile device. In turn, it will make the consumer more mobile, putting functionality at the heart.

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