M-commerce proves a hit with shoppers
Yet another innovation that was doomed for failure by the country’s foreboding cynics, has proved to be a growing trend.
The emergence of an m-commerce market; allowing online consumers to shop on their mobiles; didn’t exactly impress from the take-off. But a study released by ForeSee Results has revealed that increasing numbers of people are making their transactions via mobile web, and that number is set to swiftly accelerate.
The study examined the habits of 10,000 Christmas shoppers over the seasonal period, focusing on their use of the top 40 online retail sites, including technical leaders Apple, e-commerce giant Amazon, and lucrative toy champion Toys ‘R’ Us.
The results found that more than half of online shoppers are already using, or plan to use, their phones in future for shopping. A total of 11% of the studied shoppers actually purchased via their mobile web, compared to only 2% in the same period in 2009.
A staggering 56% used their mobile web to compare prices, whilst 46% compared products. Although not necessarily buying straight from their mobiles, it is this speedy development in using m-commerce tasks that forecast the success of m-commerce transactions.
Kevin Ertell, Vice President of Retail Strategy at ForeSee Results commented on the possibilities the study has opened: “This finding indicates a huge opportunity for retailers with sophisticated, user-centric mobile sites and apps.”
Whilst commenting on the vast array of opportunities m-commerce has opened; Ertell also relays a valid point. Success will only come to the mobile sites and apps which are user-friendly and impart an enjoyable experience. The study also revealed that customers were less than satisfied with the shopping experience, so perhaps much consideration has to be paid to the usability and overall encounter with the site or app.
When suddenly realising my contact lens stash was running seriously low, and being away from my laptop, I took to my iPhone to order my next supply. What would have taken less than four minutes on the laptop, ordering and paying for my lenses ended up taking 15 minutes on my phone.
In a world where web users want immediacy and efficiency; attempting to scroll back and forth whilst searching for products, and zooming in and out to enter card details; is just all too time-consuming. Mobile sites and apps shouldn’t just be a scaled down version of their online counterparts, they need to add value to the brand, and be specifically optimised for mobile.
So much time and money is thrown into reinforcing brand values and making the shopping experience enriched for the consumer; retailers need to put the same effort into mobile shopping.
By 2012, the cost of smartphones will have reduced significantly and they’ll be more widespread; meaning the possibility of m-commerce taking over will become a reality. Experts predict that the UK mobile commerce market will have doubled by 2013, making now an ample time to begin transforming the mobile shopping world.
House of Fraser has already launched their mobile transactional website, and has seen mobile sales grow by 660%, reinforcing the overwhelming potential of m-commerce.
Although the capabilities of mobile shopping are vast; the possibility for it to fail considerably for retailers is also present. If mobile security is not integrated within the mobile site or app, consumers will lose their trust in a brand and not use the retailer across any platform.
When commenting on how I check my bank balance on my mobile, I still get gasps from friends and family who can’t believe I exchange such important information via mobile web. Mobile security still remains the one issue affecting the interest in m-commerce, with many people believing it isn’t safe.
The younger generation are most comfortable utilising m-commerce, as with most technology trends. But as always, the more popular and widespread something becomes, the more people trust it and incorporate it into their everyday lives.
Thanks to faster speeds, a wider range of internet-enabled phones, and the ability to manage time better; m-commerce is sure to engulf the online retail market as we know it.
The time is nigh for retailers to jump on the technical bandwagon and take advantage of this amplifying development. It isn’t a case of will the m-commerce market dominate; it’s a case of when.
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