Mobile commerce (m-commerce) continues to be one of the fastest growing segments in retail commerce. A research published in the US this week suggests that 88% of mobile phone users make regular use of retail apps. 20% of all Starbucks in-store sales for example now come from mobile transactions.
In the UK, the picture is similar; IMRG reported that in 2014 40% of sales in the UK’s multi-billion pound online retail market came from mobile devices.
These figures are all part of a growing trend with year-on-year growth being reported, and is expected to continue as more consumers turn to mobile for their retail, banking and other every day needs.
However, a survey carried out earlier this year showed that 40% of British consumers were unhappy with their m-commerce experience, indicating that shopping on a mobile was more difficult and time consuming than using a computer. More than a third (36%) stated that they had no intention of making a mobile purchase again.
Does this mean that the m-commerce boom has reached tipping point? Absolutely not, but there are clearly significant issues that retailers need to address before m-commerce can reach its full potential.
The same survey showed that whilst consumers were aware of the potential of m-commerce, it’s the convenience and ease of use that e-commerce and even brick & mortar (B&M) have to offer that keeps them away from adopting the mobile channel.
Not too surprising, as e-commerce has several advantages over m-commerce that will be difficult to overcome:
- 3G / 4G cannot compete with broadband for speed
- A 5” screen cannot compete with a full-sized monitor for content display, and touch-screen cannot compete with a full sized keyboard
- The m-commerce in-app purchasing process is far more clunky than the e-commerce equivalent… and so on
However, even m-commerce has significant advantages over B&M, who are tied to legacy infrastructure designed to accept plastic not to enhance the consumer’s purchasing journey. Instant coupons, loyalty programs, ratings & reviews are all available to the digital channels, including m-commerce.
The one thing that should not be an issue for any digital channel is the check-out experience. There is technology available today that allows for in-app purchasing at the push of a button, e-wallets filled with secure payment tokens, user-preferred authentication mechanisms (from PIN to biometrics), and integrated reward programs that provide direct and significant benefit for the consumer and merchant alike.
Perhaps the hardest thing for a retailer to do, and perhaps one of the most difficult things to overcome, is backing the right horse. The amount of innovation in mobile payments is staggering, and the payments industry’s lack of collaboration make these significant investment choices very difficult. When competitive advantages are measured in days and weeks, one misstep can have long lasting effects.
The answer however is simple; only invest in technology that can be implemented in-line with existing infrastructure, yet future-proofed enough to integrate with whatever comes next.
Where can you find such a thing? Just ask the right question