Smartphones. They’ve come a long way since the 1992 IBM Simon. What we used in the early stages of mobile phone development to call, text (and, let’s admit it, play Snake) has now become a phone, camera and small computer on which users can literally do anything and everything they want. Now everything is possible: finding a cab, learning a new language and occasionally indulging in a bit of retail therapy, of course.
With approximately 2.53 billion smartphone users worldwide in 2018, (a figure expected to reach as much as 2.87 billion in 2020 according to Statista) it’s obvious that the smartphone epidemic isn’t going to stop anytime soon. If early mobile commerce was mainly focused on the selling and purchasing of ringtones, logos, and songs, it is now predominantly driven by products such as clothes, beauty products, and home & living. As a consequence, mobile shopping has become an important revenue-stream for e-retailers, as an effective channel to reach potential customers and boost sales. But how is mobile commerce progressing and why is it important for the eCommerce future? Let’s dive into the future of mobile commerce!
The transformation of e-commerce with mobile commerce
The revolution of traditional commerce started in the ’90s with the launch of the internet, and consequently a few years later, with the development of e-commerce. This revolutionary way of doing commerce allowed retailers not only to sell products from their stores, but also target a wider audience, locally and globally, and with a wider product offering. In addition to e-commerce, the revolution of smartphones enabled sellers to use mobile phones as an additional tool to increase their business. M-commerce was thus born.
Today, m-commerce is a major focus for the global e-commerce industry. With an inflation of 26% in mobile traffic on its platform in 2018 compared to three years before, Stylight stats indicate that mobile shopping won’t stop increasing anytime soon.
A global evolution of products
and online shops on Stylight
In terms of revenue, over the last few years, m-commerce has represented a considerable part of e-commerce companies’ turnover. A European study conducted by the digital marketplace RetailMeNot revealed that in 2018, sales on smartphones reached 8.9 billion euros, and are estimated to reach 12.7 billion euros in 2019 and 17.5 billion euros in 2020, representing 28.8% of online sales (compared to 13.2% in 2017).
M-commerce does not mean the end of offline shopping
There is a vast misconception that m-shoppers go through life just staring at their phone’s screens. This is not necessarily the case: m-shoppers live and shop offline as well, but integrate m-shopping into their offline experience. Evidence shows that m-commerce has had a significant impact on how consumers purchase products offline. According to Todd Pollak, Retail Industry Director at Google, consumers employ their smartphones and m-shopping services prior to offline shopping to gain inspiration for their purchase (specific brand or product to buy), to help them plan their trip to the store (locations or proximity), and help them narrow down their purchase options with, for example, deals.
M-commerce rarely involves only one device. Today, a significant number of online transactions involve multiple devices. What is however interesting is that, according to Criteo, the conversion rate on shopping apps is now higher than on desktop (17% vs. 12%). This is certainly a reason for brands and retailers to embrace mobile commerce instead of fearing it!
Multiple devices appear as a critical matter for Stylight, who has understood pretty quickly that a single website was not enough, no matter how well designed it is. As a result, the platform now encompasses apps on iOS, Android. Consequently, if companies want to maximize their chances of selling to customers, they need to ensure that they have a dedicated desktop and mobile website as well as an iOs and Android app.
Finally, most important is that all of a company’s products are displayed on each and every channel. Shopping on multiple devices is practiced by a large part of the population, and consumers expect to find no difference between the products they find on a brand’s website compared to its mobile version. The shopping experience should remain the same, no matter what device consumers use.
What will happen to mobile commerce in the next few years?
Now let’s talk about the most interesting part. Brands and retailers, if you haven’t invested in mobile commerce yet, it’s your time to do so: the market intelligence and advisory firm Mordor Intelligence predicts that the mobile commerce market will reach a 27% Compound Annual Growth Rate by 2024. The four top global m-commerce markets (e.g China, U.S., UK, and Japan) will be still top of the game.
The number of couponing websites and sales available online will enable consumers to have an increased purchasing power. More so than before, consumers will be able to play an active role in their own shopping experience. M-payment options to choose from will be on the rise, as retailers will want to find more ways to create trust in consumers. The number of mobile payments is expected to eventually catch up to the number of purchases done via a computer.
Like other leaders in the digital world, Stylight will keep developing new tools to facilitate mobile user experience. In the upcoming years we will develop more customer-friendly as well as transaction-generating apps, to go from a device-focused strategy to a people-focused one.
Fashion m-commerce will remain one of the major verticals in the future, and beauty as well as home & living won’t be far behind. These sectors are also expected to be significant ones, and it goes without saying that the m-commerce industry should focus on them.
And last but not least, social media will play a huge role in the mobile purchasing process, as brands will continue to find new ways to reach out to potential customers. As recommendation plays a major role in the purchasing decision, other users’ advice, as well as additional information about a product, will be used more often on a brand’s’ social media channels.