Fiercely aspirational eCommerce entrepreneurs should understand that mCommerce is no longer playing second fiddle to eCommerce. Bigger to an estimate of 45% of the total US eCommerce market, Business Insider reports suggest a striking up-and-up mCommerce trajectory. Coming to aspects such as price comparisons and product searches, 80% of shoppers prefer mobile phones to desktops. In what can be called a comprehensively enticing and enlightening study, revenue from mobile eCommerce is estimated to reach a whopping $669 billion by the end of 2020.Before sharing my initial thoughts on mobile eCommerce trends or mCommerce trends, I would love to mention the different types of services that come under the ambit of mCommerce.There are three different types of services:
Now, let’s dive into the top eCommerce trends.
Trend #1: Chatbots are a delight
What can brands do to engage with social media users? Well, they can do a multitude of experiments. But surely, brands can bet on chatbots to improve engagement with social media users. According to eMarketer, social media users have a strong proclivity for messenger apps. Traditional platforms such as phone calls, emails etc., are becoming increasingly anachronistic. In essence, chatbots which are capable of initiating and facilitating conversations are gaining a lot of traction. Big names such as Starbucks, H&M and Nordstrom are betting their chances on chatbots.For all intents and purposes, chatbots are capable of responding to the queries of customers. Buyers can do away with the FAQ section. They need not talk to customer support representatives. And most importantly, chatbots are available 24/7. Intelligent smart chatbots programmed in AI and machine learning languages learn about the shopping patterns and behavior of customers. Subsequently, they give personalized suggestions and recommendations. The key is to look for those chatbots which can integrate seamlessly with the likes of Facebook Messenger and Skype.
Trend #2: Augmented Reality will dominate the dominion of mCommerce
Impossible! That is what I used to think a couple of years ago about AR and VR. When Michio Kaku, the reputed theoretical physicist asserted that Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality are going to change the digital shopping experience, I thought it’s not happening anytime soon. I was wrong. Pokemon Go was an all-time hit. In their endeavors to enhance the shopping experience of customers, retailers are integrating AR into their physical stores.When it comes to rendering immersive and intuitive AR shopping experiences to its customers, IKEA is a pioneer. In 2016, as an integral part of its digital transformation journey, IKEA launched an application called IKEA place. This app was built by using Apple’s iOS 11 ARkit technology. Guess what, IKEA registered a huge net sales of €35 billion in 2016.There are noteworthy apps such as the Houzz AR which lets shoppers to virtually position different pieces of furniture and test if they are a good fit.
Trend #3: Voice search and voice-driven offerings are gaining momentum
The dependence of man on voice-driven virtual assistants is more pronounced in the first half of 21st century. Are you aware that in 2016, Google reported as much as 20% of queries from voice searches? Amazon’s Alexa is a timeless masterpiece. Google Home and Apple HomePod are also becoming the hot favorites of customers. Any innovative strategy in mCommerce is incomplete without the espousal of voice-driven offerings.So what’s the bottom line?The bottom line is to optimize your mobile site and mobile application for voice-driven queries. Be informed that people do not type full sentences. For instance, Man United vs Arsenal result – This is how a search query looks. But people often say full phrases when they speak. In other words, a voice-driven search query looks something like this – “Hey Siri, Who won Man United vs Arsenal?”, or “Hey Google, Tell me about Man United vs Arsenal”.Your mobile site should be optimized for long-tail keywords, full phrases and complete sentences.
Trend #4: Personalized Marketing never gets old
Is personalized marketing new to us? No, it’s been here for the past decade or so. It’s here to stay. Personalized marketing entails the systematic use of analytics to track the purchase history of buyers. Your analytics module should throw insights on the frequently visited category pages, purchase behavior during offers and discounts etc. Grabbing the attention of customers in real time at the right location is important. For this, push notifications and geolocation marketing beacons should be used. Cohort targeting can yield rich dividends. It is important to identify the source of referral traffic.Personalized marketing should not be confined to one particular channel. Omi-channel experience is the need of the hour. Hyper personalized marketing campaigns should be conducted across multiple channels such as emails, Google ads, Social ads, YouTube ads etc. The same message can be communicated through a simple push notification
Trend #5: Adherence to wider range of regulations is mandatory
Mobile shopping, mobile banking and mobile payments- All the three have one thing in common: Regulations. If your mobile site doesn’t comply with the tax laws and regulations that your products are being shipped to, international trade is hampered. Amazon assiduously and diligently adheres to international trade rules and regulations. Similarly, reputed mCommerce sites religiously adhere to the stipulated regulations. For instance, contactless mobile payments have a different set of rules and regulations when compared to those of closed-loop mobile payments and carrier payments.
Other trends such as single-click payments, automation, incorporating explainer videos etc., are also expected to dictate mCommerce trends. If you fail to keep yourself abreast of mobile eCommerce trends, you will fail to fulfill the expectations of your customers. Be flexible in your approach. Prepare a mission statement and articulate goals. Define a timeline. Keep tracking your progress and persist in your endeavors. In this era of smartphones and mCommerce, smartness is an indispensable asset. Be smart. Stay informed. Stay ahead. Cheers!