One of the big questions heading into this holiday shopping season revolves around how much mobile commerce (or mcommerce) will contribute to overall online sales this year. We know retail ecommerce is expected to be strong -- eMarketer estimates the core holiday November-through-December period will continue its multi-year trend of double-digit growth to bring $79.4 billion in sales, an increase of 13.9 percent from the same time in 2014. Ecommerce’s share of overall retail sales will rise to 9 percent, well above its predicted 7.1 percent share of total retail sales for the year.
We know that shoppers have used mobile devices to compare prices, research a local store or business or search for product information, and now it seems this is the year these shoppers will be making more direct purchases. Mcommerce sales will grow 32 percent in 2015, according to eMarketer -- a far steeper growth curve than ecommerce as a whole. Larger smartphone screens, mobile-optimized webpages, newly-developed retail apps and easier mobile checkout processes all play into this trend. Buying on smartphones and tablets is simply easier than ever.
So how does it translate to online strategy? There are a few trends to understand in order to take full advantage of the growth in mobile commerce.
In a recent PayPal global mobile survey of shopping trends, 47 percent of those who have shopped by mobile said that they prefer to use an app over a browser for convenience and speed. Even as many businesses have focused heavily on creating mobile-friendly sites, it is important to have an app strategy as well. The same survey also found that a younger demographic, 18 to 34 year olds, accounts for 59 percent of mobile shoppers. For businesses whose demographic includes millennials, having a well-developed, easy-to-use-app will be especially important.
One business that illustrates this perfectly is Jane.com, recently named one of the fastest growing private companies in the country. The boutique marketplace features the latest in women’s fashion trends, home decor and children’s clothing. Noticing an uptick in purchases made by mobile browser, the company decided to simplify mobile shopping even more for their customers by building an app. Today, 35 percent of overall revenue comes from the app, and mobile web traffic continues to grow as well.
The most successful retailers will give shoppers a seamless experience and be able to work with customers whether they walk into a store, order online, via mobile browser, via an app, or call on the phone. Being able to make a purchase on one channel and return to another is also important to consumers. So that could mean ordering online and picking up or making a return in-store. The most successful retailers will unify their online and in-store merchandising, meeting and recognizing shoppers wherever they choose to engage with the brand.
If your business already has a mobile app -- congratulations! That is a great place to be to benefit from the coming surge in mcommerce. Companies that don’t have an app must not let another year go by. Development resources from firms like Blue Acorn and Magento can get anyone quickly out of the box on building a presence in the mobile app marketplace.