Friday, 22 May 2015

The Mobile Impact on Ecommerce

First, it was online shopping. Then it became full-fledged ecommerce. And now, it has gone mobile. If we look back we will find that shopping has evolved rather dramatically over the years. It used to involve newspaper ads, clipping coupons and driving from store to store to compare deals. Now social media and mobile innovations allow shoppers to post photos of their purchases, ask their friends for recommendations, read reviews etc without having to leave the store aisle. We look at how retailers can use mobile to improve consumers’ overall shopping experience.

Social media is increasingly influencing shopping habits with 3 out of 4 customers admitting to having used Facebook to choose a shopping destination or restaurant. A majority of customers also hold online conversations with brands to seek a better experience in the future. So, how do businesses use mobile to provide that extra value to the consumer?

1. Store-specific apps

Retailers with their own apps can follow shoppers to create lists, find relevant coupons and deals, and even load these deals directly onto loyalty cards. Some businesses have taken doesn't even further by allowing users to start shopping on one device and pick it up later from another.

2. Help shoppers find items

Some apps offer in-store location features that can help customers find a specific product without flagging down a salesperson. This is very useful as users like to be guided to the product without third-party intervention.

3. Compare/Contrast

When it comes to making a purchase decision, shoppers are always looking for easier ways to read reviews, check prices and compare multiple products. For example, Best Buy puts QR codes on all of their products to help with this, allowing customers to simply scan the codes for additional product info and compare up to 4 Best Buy products at a time.

4. The checkout needs to be easy!

While in-store mobile payments are still in their infancy, the appeal of speeding up the checkout process is undeniable. Sloppy checkout processes are foremost among the reasons for customer frustration and easing it would go a long way in ensuring satisfaction.

5. Ask them to visit again

Every store wants repeat business and an app is the perfect way to get customers back. Apps can send alerts about new items, notify customers when their prescriptions need to be refilled, or promote limited-time sales.

6. Give them the whole picture

Retailers can use apps to ensure a positive brand experience even after customers leave the store. Offering ‘how-to’ videos and suggestions based on customers’ past purchases would be a good idea. For example, a customer who just bought an iPod might be interested in a speaker.  

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