Why your retail business can’t ignore the rise of mobile use

When you leave your house or apartment, there are likely three main things you typically want to make sure you have: your keys, wallet, and smartphone.

It’s also likely that one of those items is something you just can’t get through the day without. There have been occasions when I’ve left home without even thinking about my wallet, but I checked 20 times to make sure I had my phone.

We go everywhere with our mobile devices now. And because they are attached to us at almost all times, we are increasingly using our phones for everyday tasks.

That’s why it’s no surprise to hear that mobile commerce (or mcommerce) is on the rise. This year, it’s expected that 44.7% of US retail ecommerce sales will be generated via mcommerce. And that figure is only going to keep increasing, reaching 53.9% by 2021.

Plus, as of 2017, nearly one-third of online retail sales worldwide were generated through mobile apps.

So, it’s safe to say that businesses that ignore jumping on the mobile train could be missing out on revenue as well as losing their competitive advantage.

How is mcommerce different from ecommerce?

You may be thinking, ‘Isn’t mobile commerce the same as ecommerce?’ Yes and no.

Think of mcommerce as one type of ecommerce.

Ecommerce is an umbrella term for online shopping, but mcommerce specifically refers to making purchases via mobile devices.

One of the main perks of mobile commerce is that it allows people to easily make transactions almost anywhere they go. But with ecommerce, which is typically done on desktop computers and laptops, consumers can’t as comfortably use their device anywhere they go.

Since mobile commerce allows for the ability to shop wherever and whenever it has quickly become a massive part of the retail experience for a growing segment of consumers.

Still not sure if mobile capabilities are worth investing in for your business? Consider this: 92% of consumers regard their smartphones as their primary device, and the average user checks their phone 85 times each day. That equates to 8 billion checks a day among all US consumers.

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Mobile apps

For businesses that want to make the most of the increase in mobile usage, it’s essential to design a user-friendly mobile experience.

Making your mobile platform easy for consumers to use is a major sales driver. And research shows that sales are hindered when retailers fail to optimize the mobile shopping experience.

According to Adobe, online cart abandonment among mobile shoppers is a problem for many retailers. When it comes to completing an online purchase, the last checkout step happens “over 20% less often on smartphones compared to desktop.” And that means US retailers are missing out on an additional $9 billion in mobile sales.

One way that retailers can make mobile capabilities more user-friendly is to develop an app.

Retailer mobile apps have picked up in popularity among consumers. In 2018, the number of retailer mobile apps used by consumers doubled from the previous year, from an average of two per phone to four. Plus, consumers who use mobile apps tend to spend extra time browsing and finish sales more than twice as often compared to those shopping on a website.

Keep in mind that even if you create an app, it’s still important to optimize your website for mobile devices. According to Google research, 73% of consumers will switch from a poorly designed mobile site to one that makes purchasing easier.

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Mobile use in brick-and-mortar stores

Not only has the rise in mobile use changed the way people are shopping online, but it has also changed how they’re shopping in stores.

Mobile devices were once predicted to be the demise of brick-and-mortar retail. But mobile devices are actually helping enhance the in-store shopping experience.

More than half of all consumers (57%) have used a retailer’s app while shopping in-store.

So what are consumers looking for on their phones while in stores? According to the consulting firm BRP, 34% of consumers use their phone to compare prices and 28% search for offers and coupons.

A retailer’s mobile offerings can also have a huge influence on where a consumer chooses to shop. 67% of consumers will reportedly select a store based on the availability of mobile coupons, and 64% will decide where to shop based on the product information available on a mobile platform.

Increasingly, consumers want a seamless experience between online and offline shopping. Even if a purchase is made in a physical store, there’s a good chance the decision was influenced by digital features.

No business is immune to the changing expectations of consumers. And when it comes to retail mobile capabilities, consumers’ expectations will only continue to increase. That’s why retailers need to make sure mobile features are included in any consumer engagement plan. Otherwise, consumers may take their money – and their phones – elsewhere.



* This blog provides general information and discussion about global business payments and related subjects. The content provided in this blog ("Content”), should not be construed as and is not intended to constitute financial, legal or tax advice. You should seek the advice of professionals prior to acting upon any information contained in the Content. All Content is provided strictly “as is” and we make no warranty or representation of any kind regarding the Content.