In 2017, mobile commerce sales made up 34.5% of all retail eCommerce sales. That number is expected to grow year over year, reaching 50% in 2020.
Mobile commerce isn’t just about buying something using a mobile device. It encompasses the entire buying cycle—from research to purchase to tracking and delivery. Apps factor largely into this process, with 57% of U.S. consumers using a mobile retail app to learn about a product or service.
In this post, we’ll review the hottest mCommerce trends and statistics so you can go into the 2019 holiday shopping season with some important insights to help refine your mobile commerce strategy.
Mobile shoppers want speed
One of the key emerging trends in mobile commerce is that shoppers want speed. This is as true for mobile apps as it is for websites.
A 2017 survey of U.S. mobile shoppers found that the average mobile shopping session is under 4 minutes. Mobile shoppers also use a variety of apps during a single shopping session (six, on average). Shoppers tend to start at Facebook and move onto a different app from there (e.g., Amazon, Google search, retailer’s website, etc.)
The following is a list of the top apps that U.S. digital shoppers access during a single shopping session based on an eMarketer data from February 2018.
Consumers expect mobile websites to have the same speed and features as a mobile app, but speed isn’t limited to download times and responsiveness.
Speed also applies to shipping times and fast, efficient customer service at every touchpoint. Consumers are now reaching out to retailers via numerous channels that include social media, apps, websites, and third-party vendor sites such as Amazon.
Because of this expectation, the use of chatbots—software that speaks with customers via voice or text technology—is on the rise, with Gartner predicting that 25% of customer support services will be integrated with virtual assistants by 2020.
Mobile as a brick and mortar tool
Consumers use their phones as money saving tools when they shop in a store, with 61% performing price comparisons and more than 60% using apps to find coupons and discounts prior to making a purchase in the store.
Other in-store mobile phone functions include checking store inventory and reading product reviews. Access to coupons is ubiquitous, with many third-party apps available to compare product prices, features, and get coupons.
Retailers who don’t embrace these apps risk losing sales as consumers (particularly millennials) use coupons while shopping.
Augmented reality enhances the mobile shopping experience
Augmented reality (AR) refers to technology that superimposes a computer image onto a real-view of the user’s environment.
The simplest examples of this are filters in social media apps such as Snapchat and AR-powered games such as Pokémon Go, but retailers are increasingly using this technology to help users visualize a product such as a chair or a paint color as it would appear within their own environment.
While many retailers are aware of this technology, the majority (over 60%) don’t utilize AR in their mobile apps or websites. This presents a great opportunity for early adopters who want to stand out in the cluttered digital commerce space.
AR functionality is a natural fit for mobile commerce since it can be easily integrated into a mobile app and it allows users to experience what a product will look like in their own environment before it arrives at their doorstep.
Voice search powers commerce
Currently about 20% of search queries are voice searches, but that number is predicted to grow to 50% by 2020. Voice queries tend to be longer and more specific than text queries, so retailers should keep this in mind when creating product descriptions and titles.
Smart speakers that are driven by voice assistants such as Amazon’s Alexa, Microsoft’s Cortana and Apple’s Siri are helping to drive this trend, with Gartner predicting that 30% of all web-browsing sessions will be done without a screen by 2020.
Voice search for eCommerce is about providing a better shopping experience to customers who, as noted above, are focused on speed. It enables customers to shop faster when using their mobile apps.
Social Media + mCommerce = Sales
Social media is a driving force behind retail sales with Business Insider reporting that the top 500 retailers earned over $6 billion from social shopping in 2017, an increase of 24% compared with 2016.
Platforms like Facebook and Instagram are embracing this trend by offering advertising products with features that help drive sales. Users respond to retail ads on social platforms, with 55% of shoppers indicating they’ve made a purchase through a social media platform within the last year.
Tools such as Curalate which connect user-generated content from social media with products featured in this content can also help drive sales, showing the item in its native environment while enabling users to shop their social feeds.
Let the 2019 shopping season begin
There’s still time to focus on optimizing your mobile commerce strategy for the 2019 shopping season. You can do this by streamlining your website or app so that the process from browsing to buying moves as quickly as possible.
Think about what offers, discounts, and coupons you’ll want to incorporate over the next few months and make sure the coupons are listed on coupon websites and apps.
Take the time to optimize your product titles and descriptions with voice search in mind. This will also help you appear more prominently for text searches both on mobile and desktop devices.
Finally, use your social media presence to help you sell your products. You can do this by creating hashtags specific to an event or offer, pulling user-generated content into your website or social media feed, and making sure you engage with your customers at all social media touchpoints.