21 November 2016

DIGITAL - The Shift to Mobile Commerce

E-Commerce, which encompasses all of the commerce that happens over electronic systems such as the internet, has already changed the consumer landscape.

Consumers demand fast, responsive, accessible marketing and information and brands are adapting to meet these demands.

Now e-commerce is expanding more fully into m-commerce, as consumers move more fully into mobile-immersed lives.

People are purchasing more of their goods and services online, and using e- and m-commerce in ways that continue to integrate the digital and physical worlds.

The Internet of Things is a big part of the shift in mobile commerce.

Products such as the successful Starbucks app allow people to place orders before they arrive in the store, and exemplify how the world of connected devices is changing consumer habits.

Starbucks has also led the way in providing a seamless mobile purchase environment within the app, and has connected the app to a revamped rewards system that offers incentives to the consumer to use the app for their purchases.

Marketers and retailers should keep this in mind as they develop their own mobile apps and strategies.

Other services that offer integrated online and physical retail moments, such as same-day shipping, curbside pickup, and online reservations for restaurants and hotels continue to expand the mobile commerce market.

And store locators, location-based advertising and recommendations, and store associate chat options help digital customers find their way to physical retail locations.

Since offline sales still account for more than 90% of retail purchases, getting customers into physical stores is still an important part of marketing strategies.

Android Pay, Apple Pay, and Samsung Pay are all other examples of the intersection of the Internet of Things and e- and m-commerce.

MasterCard has introduced the Commerce for Every Device program, which hopes to provide payment capabilities for a range of connected devices, offering convenience with the promise of security.

Even without looking at connected payment options for wearables and other internet-connected devices, people are already taking advantage of the larger screens and personal accessibility of smartphones for their purchases.

Payment options are more smooth and frictionless, and the unreliability of mobile shopping carts that plagued retailers as recently as 2014 have mostly been smoothed out.

With new mobile payment options being rolled out in quick succession, including North American and European companies like Ericsson following Africa’s lead when it comes to mobile commerce, smartphones are positioned to maintain their dominance.

One mobile commerce service that has tried to find traction and consistently failed is the buy button on social media sites.

Consumers are not yet ready to move their consumption onto social media sites, and they tend to go directly to retailers.

However, once levels of trust in the security of social media sites rises, it’s possible that buy buttons will seamlessly integrate customer purchases into their social media experience.

On the other hand, conversational commerce is growing and will continue to grow.

Chatbots, virtual assistants, and the aforementioned sales associate web chat services are an important part of the new e- and m-commerce.

Bots and virtual assistants are not yet providing the rich and interactive experience that consumers want, but they are in the early stages of technological development.

By Tiffany Sostar
Tiffany is a writer, editor, academic, and animal lover who came late to her appreciation of pets. At 18, a rescue pup named Tasha saved her from a depression and she hasn't looked back. She has worked as the canine behaviour program coordinator for the Calgary Humane Society, and was a dog trainer specializing in working with fearful and reactive dogs for many years. She doesn't have any pets right now, but makes up for it by giving her petsitting clients (and any dogs she comes across on her frequent coffee shop adventures) extra snuggles.

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