The number of smartphones, tablets and smartwatches sold has increased steadily in 2015, leaving no doubt that mobile connection is now more important than desktop. The new mobile-friendly algorithm launched by Google would be enough to certify this paradigm shift.
Despite this irreversible trend, less than a third of Western companies have a long-term mobile strategy that includes ‘selling’. Why is that? The problem is - at least in part - due to mobile commerce myths that obstruct the necessary changes, in terms of vision and investments.
After all the innovations that we have witnessed in such a short time, do you still believe that retail today still looks like ten years ago? Many times we have already debunked the idea that retail customer experience is limited to what happens in the physical store and that the smartphone is not built to sell.
Here are few statistics - taken from reports by Hubspot, Altimeter, ComScore - to highlight the importance of mobile commerce when building digital customer experience:
- Mobile sales are estimated to reach 62 billion dollars in value in the next five years, the fastest growing segment in retail.
- Considering the total sales of e-commerce, 25 percent of those will come from mobile by the end of 2017.
- More than one-third of customers already use mobile exclusively when they have to decide what buy and where.
- Roughly 40 percent of all digital sales are cross-device, meaning customers use more than one device during the journey.
These numbers tell that the customer behavior in the digital era is driven by the evolution of mobile technology, and the only thing you can do - as a business - is to keep the pace and plan your digital transformation. Far from being easy or painless, this process will ensure you the capability to engage your clients and retain their loyalty.
Keep in mind that the customer journey might be a circle, but it has three specific objectives: engage, understand AND sell. Every single technology you deploy must serve all three goals: sales should never be taken for granted like it was a natural consequence of good management of the first two.
Although each one of us utilizes the smartphone in a personal and unique manner, one of the most popular activities includes researching and buying products. Mobile is already the primary way customers shop online, and 63 percent of customers expect to be doing more shopping on mobile in the next years.
Whether you are an e-commerce firm or a traditional retail brand, you can’t ignore that fact that mobile beats the rhythm of our life, reshaping the selling and shopping experience:
- 60 percent use a smartphone while they visit a store, 50 percent on their way to the shop.
- 47 percent use a smartphone to search for local information.
- 46 percent use a smartphone to look up prices online before going to the store.
Mobile platforms now account for 60 percent of total time spent on digital media, and yet a very large number of companies are still not mobile-ready. With this discrepancy between how customers gather information / connect with products, and how brands plan / execute their marketing strategy, it is no wonder many retailers are scrambling to invest in mobile devices.
Just implementing sophisticated tools, though, is not the answer if you want to succeed in overcrowded markets. If you do not stop and think about ‘Why’ and ‘How’ you are going mobile, no ‘What’ might save you. In a few words, the use of mobile devices or apps for the sake of mobile is totally useless, if not dangerous for your brand integrity.
Here are the five common mobile commerce myths that can impact how you connect with customers via mobile. Debunk and discard them before going mobile because no technology matters unless you take care of the basics.
MOBILE IS YET ANOTHER CHANNEL
They say mobile is just another channel you can include - or not include as well - in your marketing strategy. False: mobile is the key to understand how customers take purchase decisions in the digital era. Selling online is the new frontier, be it mobile commerce or social commerce.
As shown in our recent article about the future of retail from 2016 on, today’s typical customer journey is fragmented and moves across various channels without predictable schemes. You need to think past the channels, the most critical micro moments (of truth) already happen on a mobile screen.
MOBILE COMMERCE IS FOR MILLENNIALS
Being a relatively recent technology, mobile is something that appeal mostly young people. False: Millennials live glued to their smartphone, but they are not the ones that move markets. Mobile shopping is a trend even among the less digitalized generations.
While millennials have grown up during the mobile outbreak, the fastest growing group of mobile users is those between 46 and 54. As for the so-called Generation Y, it is the most powerful force ever witnessed, set to surpass the spending power of their parents (something like 1.4 billion dollars before 2020).
MOBILE MARKETING MEANS ADVERTISING
When it comes to applying the rules of marketing to the mobile world, advertising is the first (and sometimes only) word that comes to mind. False: mobile marketing includes all practices that enable you to communicate and engage with your audience through any mobile device. That means not only paid media but also owned and earned contents.
The ultimate aim of developing a mobile strategy is to reinforce the connection with customers, using all kind of tools available: while advertising is steadily losing relevance (due to AdBlock software), social media and mobile app development become more and more critical to showcase your brand and sell your products.
MOBILE COMMERCE KILLS THE STORE
Two false myths in one: mobile commerce is not for brick-and-mortars that hold their core essence tight in the physical store; at the same time, the emergence of mobile players is killing traditional stores, forcing us all to a cold, aseptic relationship with bots.
On the contrary, it is now evident that the spread of smartphones is the primary force behind the reinvention of the store, that is not destined to disappear anytime soon. Commerce online is an extension of the shop, that expand its range and perfectly connects digital and physical, in the name of proximity marketing and the Internet of Things.
MOBILE COMMERCE IS FOR BIG BRANDS
Mobile marketing is expensive; the development of a mobile app is expensive; selling through mobile channels is expensive and only fits the big brands. In this unfair race, small businesses have no chance to get customer’s attention, and will be swallowed up by merciless holdings. False.
The truth is, mobile commerce has proved ideal for small and local brands. Even Google indexing is focusing on the localization of customers and contents. The “think local, act mobile” philosophy will push to context-aware marketing services, providing you with innovative ways to connect the store and the mobile experience.
Once again, focus on what really matters for customers: the experience. Take advantage of mobile to provide a fast, easy, memorable shopping experience to your customers, across all touch points of the customer journey. Only then will you survive the evil influence of false myths.
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