4 Trends Shaping the Mobile Shopping Experience

Feb 23, 2016 1:34 PM  By

Mobile trends are like fashion trends: changing and evolving quickly. As a business, it’s imperative to ensure your mobile marketing strategy is relevant if you want to maintain a competitive advantage in the marketplace.

That’s because smartphones will only continue to dominate the shopping experience. It is estimated that by 2020 mobile shopping experience will surpass pricing and product as the main differentiator between brands. And with 2016 being touted as the year of the mobile shopper, it is more important than ever for retailers to boost their mobile strategy by understanding and leveraging the latest mobile commerce trends.

Hyper Connected Shopping Experiences.

Not long ago, mobile was predominantly utilized for reference only, to research product reviews, compare pricing, and discover coupons and offers. The proliferation of larger screen smart phones and tablets has put shopping within reach of all users, with more than 82 percent of the 1.91 billion smartphone users utilizing mobile devices to shop.

Today’s consumers are not only expecting mobile to be part of the shopping experience, but that it is cohesive across all shopping channels. Accomplishing this can be challenging for brands, but the benefits are endless. Delivering a robust and unified omnichannel approach allows retailers to track consumers’ interactions regardless of whether they purchasing via a brick-and-mortar store, desktop or mobile device. New data can be used to inform and personalize the online and in-store shopping experiences, as well as break down the silos between areas of business. And with the latest reports stating that e-commerce shoppers spend more via mobile devices, this is a trend that will likely help retailers retain customers and boost ROI.

Rise in Consumer-Focused Applications

In 2015, consumers spent more time inside mobile applications than watching television, according to a report from Flurry. And as mobile shopping app usage continues to grow faster than any other app category, we can expect to see more retailers combine shoppers’ desires with innovative mobile apps.

Today, one in every two millennials has downloaded a mobile shopping app, with Amazon and Etsy being some of the most popular. These apps are built to deliver the core shopping experience with significant overlap in functionality between the app and the retailer’s mobile website ensuring for a more user-friendly experience.

Personalization is Key

Mobile innovation has elevated customer expectations in nearly all industries—especially in verticals like retail. Consumers now have instant access to a plethora of information in their pocket. And not only do they demand convenience, they expect all experiences to be aligned with their interests.

One way to ensure you’re appealing to each individual consumer is by incorporating new personalization software into your digital infrastructure. These are true solutions that allow retailers to communicate one-on-one with consumers at each potential shopping channel. For example, Sailthru collects customer data across areas of web and mobile and sends personalized product recommendations directly to the consumer in email and onsite, taking into account inventory and margin.

Beacons are also becoming a highly effective and profitable technology in today’s most advance shopping apps. Beacons are used to make shopping more personalized by using geolocation to “wake up” an app a consumer has downloaded and push notifications about new coupons and deals specific to their location.  Target, Macys and Sephora are just a couple of retailers to roll out beacon-enhanced technology to better serve their customers.

Consumers Expectations vs Reality in User Experience

Smartphones and tablets are becoming the primary gateways to deliver easy day-to-day experiences. Consumers can book a ride home in an instant using the Uber app, and order a pizza at a click of a button. However, this huge growth in mobile is creating a huge gap between consumer expectations and reality when it comes to consumer-facing applications. Retailers continue to compete with the mobile-first, mobile-only companies, like Uber and Instagram. These apps have set the bar so high that retailers are not delivering a user experience that is desired by shoppers.

The solution? Make sure you understand what your shoppers want via a mobile shopping device and deliver it effectively. Doing so will allow retailer to make necessary updates to the mobile infrastructure, as well as new enhancements to user-facing portals.

Ted Fay is the Senior Director of Digital Marketing for DirectBuy.