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May 19, 2021

Retailers Prioritize Digital Mobile Commerce Strategy: Here's Why

Brian Dearth
Brian Dearth
Head of Strategy and Growth

What our smartphones do today is leaps and bounds above what they could do just ten years ago, and while the tech has marched forward, our reliance has skyrocketed over the past eighteen months. The pandemic pushed the pedal to the floor on this digital transformation that was already underway, leaving retailers with no choice but to join or get left behind.

In response to this growth in mobile usage and content consumption, one of the top priorities for retailers across every sector became sharpening their digital mobile commerce strategy. For businesses still reluctant to prioritize mobile, that window of opportunity is closing.

We Are Living in a Mobile World

Mobile phones are everywhere. They are on our desks during meetings, in our hands during our daily commute or on longer trips, and even follow many of us to bed.

The penetration of mobile phones is continuing to increase rapidly. According to research by Deloitte, almost every developed country surveyed has at least 90% mobile phone penetration. The reality is that we will never return to a world where mobile devices don’t play a critical role in the way we communicate, learn, socialize, shop, and consume content.

While conversations around mobile are often centered on smartphones, mobile has a larger reach than just these devices. Tablets and smartwatches are also integral to the future of retail. Additionally, time spent on mobile devices has only increased as a result of COVID-19, with 70% of internet users worldwide citing that they use their smartphones or mobile phones more as a direct result of the pandemic.

The boost from COVID-19 is undeniable with consumers using mobile devices to consume content, search, and purchase at a higher rate now than ever before, and it’s only going to continue to grow as younger generations accustomed to a mobile-first world become the purchasing majority.

Mobile Commerce Spans Models

The world we live in has resulted in an upward trend in mobile commerce, but this mobile focus is spanning all commerce models. B2B, B2C, and D2C businesses continue to see mobile commerce growing as a proportion of total sales.

In 2020, eCommerce sales accounted for 18% of all retail sales worldwide, and by 2024, this number is projected to reach 21% or higher.

Additionally, mobile retail revenues in the US are reaching new heights with mobile commerce revenue reaching $338 billion.

The trend in mobile commerce is logical. Phones are where people search for EVERYTHING. In fact, nearly 60% of online searches happen on mobile devices.

Mobile as a convenience factor is hard to beat when consumers want to simply look something up or make a quick purchase. As consumers continue to increase their time spent on mobile devices, their time spent searching will only continue to increase as well.  And as many of these searches lead to purchases, higher volumes of sales on mobile are expected.

 

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Mobile Is the Glue That Holds Experience Together

During COVID-19, most retailers made heavy investments into their omnichannel experience. Grocery stores began offering curbside and front-door delivery. Restaurants shifted to contactless payments and pick-up, and massive retail chains altered their focus to buy-online-pick-up-in-store (BOPIS) models.

At the center of all these experiences is the consumer’s mobile device. Mobile is the glue that holds experience together across channels and was made for the omnichannel experience. Our mobile devices make it natural to search for what we need when we need it. They make it easy to find a brand and interact with it right away. And they make it simple to convert to a sale, all from one convenient location or on the go. . .the obvious advantage of the form factor.

A Local Experience

One of the reasons why optimizing towards a mobile experience can be infinitely beneficial to any commerce strategy is that it offers a more transactional, local marketing and sales opportunity.

Whether your consumer finds you via search, a local Google ad, or a push notification using geofencing, driving traffic through mobile devices is key to unlocking a better and more efficient means to digital commerce growth.

With the incredible amount of location data and technology available today, brands can customize and personalize their digital experience through mobile marketing as they’ve never been able to before. 

A Holistic Experience

While a focused mobile strategy allows businesses to tap into a localized, hyper-personalized market, it also offers a holistic experience for consumers. Customers can jump from texting with a customer service representative to placing a product in their shopping cart to swinging by the local brick and mortar location for pickup with ease.

However, for a holistic experience to deliver, businesses must align internally first.

Even today, with consumers flocking to mobile to search for products, consume content, and make purchasing decisions, most companies across commerce models and verticals have a lower conversion rate on mobile than on desktop.

Much of this has to do with a failure to create a holistic experience, as teams continue to operate in silos. Too often, the team responsible for creating a brand’s mobile experience is set to run in their own lane, apart from the overall eCommerce strategy.

Brands that will lead the way are those who can align teams and ensure that a mobile experience is equal and compatible with a desktop and in-person experience. There can be no breakpoints from the consumer's point of view.

An Informative Experience

In addition to the expectation of an amazing omnichannel experience, consumers are also looking for an informative one. Hence the fact that livestream commerce is on the rise. While these mobile-first markets are entertaining, they also offer relevant information to consumers.

Consumers are tuning into live streams because these interactive and real-time events allowing them to learn more about a brand and product than they ever could through static product descriptions, various pictures or even product demonstration videos. So with that, your mobile commerce strategy must be focused on surfacing the perfect blend of educational and entertaining information that persuades a consumer to engage further with their brand. Educating them on the features, entertaining them to keep watching, and delivering them the next best version of themselves.

Ditch Mobile First, Think Consumer First

A mobile commerce strategy is no longer about the mentality of mobile-first. Rather, brands need to align teams to a consumer-first approach.

There is no one-size-fits-all mobile roadmap for businesses to follow. Rather, each retailer must look at their own customer, placing them at the center of their experience to determine where their digital journey should take them.

Brands interested in investing in a mobile strategy must step back, look at investments made across their eCommerce strategy, and find ways that mobile can tie their customer’s holistic experience with their brand. Today, a solid mobile strategy is more important than ever given the loss of 3rd party tracking data on desktop. 1st Party Data is now paramount. One way to get ACTIONABLE 1st Party Data is to build a native mobile app! But this decision needs to be part of that well-conceived mobile commerce strategy.

For example, if your business invested in building an eCommerce experience during the pandemic, how can you accelerate your growth by tying this into a mobile strategy? Whether that is investing in a mobile app, creating a better mobile experience, or working with your marketing team to interact with customers placing orders via SMS messaging, the next year should involve pulling all digital commerce strategies together into one cohesive approach with a keen eye on mobile experiences.

Creating a Scalable Mobile Strategy

According to GSMA real-time intelligence data, there are now over 10.97 billion mobile connections worldwide. What is fascinating is that this number surpasses the current worldwide population of 7.86 billion. The implication is that, while not every single person on the planet has a mobile connection, many people do have multiple mobile touchpoints.

And as retailers continue to prioritize their mobile commerce investments in the year ahead, brands just beginning this journey should understand that the next year will be critical. At Vaimo, we specialize in assisting B2C, B2B, and D2C brands in creating holistic mobile commerce strategies. 

If you’re interested in learning more, we can work with you to assess your current experience, gathering real-time data from consumers to build a tailor-made roadmap for your brand. 

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