For the first time since the days that saw Amazon rip open the fabric of retail with their e-commerce model, mobile commerce is poised to take its place. The arm of e-commerce that allows consumers to purchase items via their mobile phone is not only convenient for both parties, it's an affordable sales model for companies of any size.
Customers now get to quickly shop from their mobile phones from just about any place they want. And it can be done from anywhere. Miss your connection? You can buy the next available plane ticket right there in Arrivals. Forgot to pick up dog food while on your latest shopping trip? Have it delivered to your door in an hour, just through an app like Wag or Global Pet Foods.
2016 is predicted to be the first year where mobile use will surpass PC use, and those numbers are only going to rise. Mobile Commerce Daily named eBay Mobile one of the top 10 m-commerce applications of 2010, but since then the online auction site has lost some footing in the m-commerce market. But that doesn't mean that eBay has given up their place as a leader of m-commerce for long. The technology is too much a part of our future for eBay to ignore it. Therefore, they continue to develop their iWatch app, and dedicated fashion and automobile apps, to test their market and build a better app experience.
What follows are 10 of the biggest strategic advantages available to businesses, big and small, that adopt a mobile-forward sales model.
1. Shopping is accessible 24/7
Where there is WI-FI, there is an opportunity to shop. After customer shops at a brick-and-mortar store, chances are they will eventually look for the associated online store from their mobile device, so there better be a mobile m-commerce app available for them to download. Retailers with m-commerce apps get to go to bed thinking of all the sales that will roll in as they sleep.
2. Shopping becomes more convenient
Apps, especially those that are primed to go viral, will reel in new customers because of their convenience. With just a few taps on a smartphone, customers can shop, bank, download media and share content. M-commerce gives retailers more innovative purchasing and marketing features compared to mobile and responsive sites.
3. Stronger connections are made with customers
Each smartphone is tied to a single user and all that that user does with their phone—modifying the look, changing the settings, saving passwords and connecting email addresses—is highly personal. Some of the information gathered while a customer uses an m-commerce app is just as personal and can be used to create a more customized and personalized experience. When we do that, we create a stronger connection with our customers, ultimately cultivating a stronger sense of trust.
4. Customers have more chances to engage
A customer who downloads the app of their favorite store now has infinite opportunities to engage with that store and their app's content. More engagement means more detailed customer data and therefore more sales.
Adobe's research for Mobile Shopping: Retail App Usage on the Rise shows that 67% of loyal customers want apps for the stores they regularly shop.
In an infographic named A Mobile Shopper's Journey, Nielson that 63% of shoppers search and scan prices with their smartphones.
5. Sales out-perform in-person and website sales
Your apps need to be both convenient and secure if you hope to generate sales on mobile. Let your customers purchase access to premium features or virtual goods like coins via in-app purchases, which allow your customers to use the credit card they have saved with the App Store or Google Play. Your customers can purchase physical products like clothing and services like apartment cleaning by saving their credit card information within your app. Services like Stripe make it relatively easy for developers to implement recurring billing solutions because they handle complicated things like PCI compliance.
According to statista.com, worldwide mobile payments hit $430 Billion US in 2015 and could reach $560 Billion in 2016.
6. Customers get to the check-out quicker
The quicker you guide customers to the check-out, the less likely you are to lose them. Apps can even save shopping preferences and previous shopping carts for the ultimate convenience of the customer. Most shoppers have gone mobile so they can shop, compare, and review their purchases all in one place, from anywhere on Earth.
Shopping beginning to look more like a hassle, than like the leisurely past-time it once was. Get to the mall, walk around, try on a few items, and then wonder if the Gap on the other side of town has a better selection. All things that don't happen when you use a mobile app to shop.
7. Customer's get better discounts and giveaways
When you don't have to pay the hefty overheads of a brick-and-mortar store, you're freer to give discounts to mobile app users. According to Nielsen, 34% of smartphone shoppers use an m-commerce app to redeem their mobile coupons. The more shoppers save by using the mobile app, the more likely they will be to interact with it on a regular basis, further contributing to your feedback collection.
8. Social connections are easy and instant
Give clients the freedom to discuss your product or service by integrating social media into your app and you will gain access to your customers on some of their favorite social platforms. Nielsen reports that 20% use their mobile devices to comment via social media about their experience.
9. More value is delivered via push notifications
Turn potential customers into loyal shoppers by connecting with them through push notifications. Push notifications is an instant delivery system, almost rivaling direct messages as the most personal form of communication.
According to the 2014 Mobile Behavior Report, 76% of mobile shopping consumers between the age group of 18 to 34 have enabled push notifications. They do so because they believe it means they get a more meaningful experience. It's the same percentage of people (though not necessarily the same people) that keeps their location finder turned on.
Apps with push notifications can target potential customers precisely to engage with the app. Plus push notifications go wherever the customer goes. Most mobile providers send push notifications to customers when they enter a new country. The notification welcomes them to the country and offers them deals on international talk, text and data plans.
10. App data is easier to gather and track
Use mobile analytics to deliver better improvements, faster. Update your user experience and find out what your users think in real time.
When it comes to m-commerce apps, we have only uncovered the tip of the iceberg. M-commerce apps will only prove to have more benefits than we can even imagine now.
If you haven't yet moved over to a sales strategy that incorporates m-commerce, there are more than just these 10 reasons for you to do so. It doesn't take a lot of money to get started on ready-made m-commerce platforms, such as Etsy and eBay.
Mobile commerce apps can allow a business owner to become a better monitor of online sales, clock faster follow ups, and make more conversions daily. But no matter how wonderful the online store looks, if the mobile experience—from sign on to check out—falls flat you can say goodbye to a return sale.