As shopping on mobile devices becomes a routine for many consumers, and desktop computers are slowly becoming obsolete, retailers will become more interested then ever in consumer’s context, location and all aspects of online shopping that are relevant to mobile environments. Here are 6 key trends to help you get a grasp on the future of m-commerce and how it will change the reality of e-commerce.
1. Less desktop, more mobile
Experts agree that during the next five years, m-commerce will have a huge impact on the entire e-commerce industry. While desktop PC use will definitely continue to decrease, PC makers will strive to make laptops and computers work like touchscreen mobile devices with flat interfaces and intuitive functionalities. Even today, 55% of time spent on online retail happens on smartphones and tablets.
Needless to say, wearable devices will become more significant and consumers will massively wear small computers (think smartglasses or smartwatches). Moreover, consumers will begin to buy novel web-connected devices for homes and cars – objects that make part of the Internet of Things.
In the near future, retailers will need to shift their attention from the sort of device a consumer uses to their immediate location and context. And since context is key when it comes to mobile devices, which are predicted to dominate the market, knowing how to provide a great experience to customers in mobile will become a strategic priority for retailers.
2. Context will matter more than ever
We’ve already mentioned context, but that’s just the beginning of another story. In five years, e-commerce will still exist on desktops and laptops, but to the majority of consumers, online shopping will mean that they’re able to research and buy what they want on whatever device is best suited in the context or which one is simply handy.
Both e-commerce and m-commerce will become contextual commerce as consumers will make their purchases in specific situations when they realize the need for that purchase. It can be a laptop at work, an iPad when lounging around the house or an iPhone when in the car.
The job of retailers will be to provide great shopping experience and assure consumers that they’re getting the best price, easy shipping options and on-time delivery of their purchase which is of high quality and perfectly matches their needs. As you can imagine, different contexts call for different methods.
3. Location technologies
Drawing on the importance of context, it’s hard not to mention location – its critical component and a very significant factor which will drive design, features and functions of online shopping services. Location services and micro-location technologies like iBeacons will become sophisticated and widespread enough to connect with devices of consumers in specific contexts.
The entire shopping experience will depend on that combination of device type and the location of the consumer. Gathering data generated from micro-location technologies, retailers will be able to learn how to engage with a shopper accessing the online store in different situations: on a smartphone using the retailer’s own in-store WiFi network, from a mobile device while in the parking lot, or an IP address which suggests they’re at home.
4. Tablet vs. smartphone shoppers
In a couple of years we can expect that the distinction of mobile commerce understood as shopping and buying on smartphones and tablets will still be there, but retailers will have much more experience in selling through those channels to consumers. Consequently, they will separate tablet shoppers from smartphone shoppers and customize their shopping experience by device, context and location.
Retailers are already doing that when they’re measuring traffic, but in the near future they will be able to draw much more distinct categories for tablet and smartphone shoppers, who go through different experiences and exhibit different shopping behaviors.
5. Mobile from home
This is an interesting insight that will chance the face of m-commerce. Retailers are lowly realizing that shopping on mobile devices isn’t something that has to occur outside of home – many shoppers like to browse items while sitting on the couch and then sometimes switch to desktop devices to finalize their purchase.
This phenomenon is called “mobile in the home” and means that a customer can shop from any location inside their homes thanks to their home WiFi networks. In fact, 80% of tablet shoppers and 67% of smartphone shoppers have been shown by a research study from Nielsen to use their devices in order to shop while at home. Mobile means mobile, but the context can change drastically.
6. Tablets on the rise
Speaking about online shopping at home, experts predict that consumers will chuck their laptops and desktop PCs to focus instead on tablets. As the technology develops, in five years tablets will provide a much more immersive experience. They will be equipped with cameras and possibly include functionalities like gesture-based and voice control. One camera on one side of the device will be used for 3D imaging, measurements and other actions which will allow consumers to have an improved experience with products before they decide to make a purchase.
Mobile devices will revolutionize the ways in which consumers shop and retailers provide the shopping experience. As you can imagine, mobile devices and micro-location technologies will generate heaps of data, which retailers will analyze and improve their solutions to provide a seamless and engaging experience, wherever shoppers might find themselves and whichever device they decide to use.
The article was written by Torri Myler who works at a bank opening hours directory – bankopening.co.uk. She is keen on new technologies and anything digital and have a great trust in their potential to encourage business and individual development.