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Gartner forecasted that in 2017 U.S consumers’ mobile engagement behavior will push up mobile commerce revenue to 50 percent of U.S. digital commerce revenue.
What the leading market analysts have predicted is validated by spiraling growth of the mobile payment industry.
Mobile payment has become a competitive arena. Market leaders like Google Wallet, Apple Pay, PayPal, Venmo, V.me (by Visa), Masterpass (by MasterCard) and more are trying to consolidate their position in the face of growing competition fueled by new entrants.
The rapid growth of mobile payment industry is a strong indicator that mobile commerce is the future of the e-commerce.
Looking into the near future, 2017 and beyond let’s explore the emerging mobile commerce trends, opportunities and challenges.
But first, you should understand the benefits of optimizing e-commerce business for mobile devices.
Benefits of Mobile Commerce
Merchants are optimizing their business for mobile phones as applications at a greater speed than before because of the far-reaching benefits.
1. Push notifications deliver personalized offers to potential customers, 24×7. This precise targeting improves conversion rate. According to one survey 76% customers in the age group of 18 to 34 have enabled push notifications on their mobile devices.
2. Constant contact and complete access at fingertips is the key to success in a very competitive environment. Mobile apps have features like live chats, one-click calling, offers, catalogs, and help-desk. Users in an instant get the desired information. This positively impacts users and speeds up conversion rate.
3. Location based notifications are local in nature. They help businesses convert more and generate higher revenues. Location tracking also brings more foot traffic to the physical store.
4. The in-app payment feature gives consumers the opportunity to avail premium and personalized offerings with special discounts. The user can pay through Apple Pay (iOS) and Google Wallet (Android). Mobile is now a digital wallet with pre-paid account that can be debited for a purchase. Better user experience, more customers and higher conversion rates is the end result.
5. Brand or company apps give the users a seamless user experience by optimizing exclusive content, daily deals and personalized discount coupons. They attract new customers to the business and at the same time help retain the existing ones.
2017 promises to be a trendsetter for mobile commerce. There will be increased adoption of latest technology, concepts, and features. Though many; the top 5 advancements that will see greater adoption by the mobile commerce merchants are:
1. Mobile Image Recognition will make snap-to-buy a convenient feature
Mobile Image Recognition (MIR) technology is bridging the gap between the virtual and real world in a snap. In other words, MIR app is virtual world’s equivalent to window shopping in the real world. Mobile users will snap a product on the move – in the street, on board a flight, at a party – anywhere. Feed the image to MIR-driven app that will identify it and flash offers from different retailers on the mobile phone screen. The user in one touch completes the purchase.
2. Video content will be soul of the mobile commerce
A report by Cisco says that by 2020 video will make up more than 80 % of Internet traffic. E-commerce merchants use videos for product descriptions, customer service, advertisements, and customer testimonials.
With the advent of faster mobile internet broadband like 4G LTE, mobile users will consume rich media content, easy and fast. This will catalyze paradigm shift of video content marketing efforts to mobile devices. 2017 is the year when e-commerce stores will use videos to their full potential.
3. Rise in Mobile Apps with augmented reality
More numbers of merchants will use augmented reality mobile apps to give mobile shoppers an interactive, immersive experience with their products. Consumers will virtually try products on their mobile screens; wear them and take photos before they buy them. 2017 will see a dramatic rise in interactive Apps like Ink Hunter or Lenskart.
4. Personalized e-commerce experience will reign
Mobile apps with in-store personalization will push-up user experience to a higher level. The apps make shopping a quick, easy and wonderful experience in following ways:
- The in-store map or merchant locator guides the customer to product/service/merchant
- Push notifications flash customized deals and offers on the screen
- Tailored suggestions based on past search or purchase history
The advent of blue-tooth powered Beacon technology in the stores has made it easy for the store owners give personalized shopping experience to their customers, the moment they enter their store.
5. NFC-enabled payment will increase
Near Field Communication technology allows easy peer-to-peer sharing of files and transfer of mobile payments. Simply waving mobile phone synced with bank cards on the payment terminal expedites the payment. More numbers of consumers will do that in 2017.
Online shoppers tap their NFC-enabled bank cards, when prompted, to complete the checkout process. This makes checkout a smoother, faster process and improves the user experience.
Important Indicators that show rapid growth of mobile commerce
1. Explosive growth of Smartphone Users
Stastisa estimates that by 2017, there will be 222.29 million Smartphone users in the USA and the Smartphone penetration rate is predicted at 64% of total population of North America.
2. More e-commerce is coming from Smartphone
According to emarketer, US mobile commerce sales witnessed a major breakthrough in 2016 when it more than doubled the figures of the year 2014. The figure of $123.13 billion in 2016 is predicted to touch the $15.1billion mark in 2017.
The reasons are; greater Smartphone penetration in US population; superior user experience available on the larger mobile screens; faster mobile search and better context-based discovery.
3. B2B mobile commerce is growing
B2B marketers are now increasingly leveraging the mobile commerce to push up sales. B2B generates 19.4% of digital commerce revenue from mobile channels compared to B2C’s 22.6%. Though less, B2B is poised to outrun BRC in mobile commerce in short time because 50% B2B buyers are tech-savvy, young mobile users, who are decision makers, influencers or stakeholders.
A research report by KRC research in 2015 concluded that 70% of millennial used mobile apps to buy products. A jump of 85% compared to 2014. This figure is predicted to spike further in 2017.
4. Mobile Apps market is looking up
Amazon has it. eBay has it. Starbucks has it. The famous brands have apps for their mobile users. Others are following the suit. For one simple reason – more and more internet users are taking the mobile route to shop online. One research found out that apps help generate more revenues than a mobile browser and desktop, based on the customer spend per transaction.
But this is not only the reason why apps market is growing.
comScore and Flurry Analytics and carried out two separate studies. The reports confirmed that mobile users spent more time on apps compared to mobile web. The 86:14 (app: mobile web usage) ratio shows that apps dominate the mobile shopping time.
Since users spend more time on the apps, the apps drive more converting traffic to mobile commerce sites. A survey by Criteo found out that retail mobile apps convert 3.7 times more than mobile web.
Mobile commerce is growing at a break-neck speed but the hurdles come in the way. There are challenges to overcome, to take the mobile revolution to the next level.
As mobile commerce grows so does the competition and this puts immense pressure on the m-commerce merchants to provide the top-notch user experience. Mere spending on creating new business models or offering new products will not serve the purpose.
The future of mobile commerce depends upon the user experience. Hence companies need to invest heavily in research, development, and integration of innovative technology that will improve user experience and take it to a higher level. Before they do that, mobile commerce companies need to address other challenges that require immediate attention.
The mobile operating environment is scattered and lacks standardization, compared to the wired web. Mobile networks lag behind because of following constraints:
- Different device operating systems and platforms, middleware and networks
- Device constraints like limited memory, tiny screens, poor resolutions, and weak processors
- Current data speed comes at an expensive price.
The success of mobile commerce depends on upon Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) based devices and services systems that seamlessly interoperate without causing security issues. This will get rid of the major shortcoming in mobile’s scattered operating environment and make it universal and safer.
The Mobile Commerce Development Opportunity
We live in a wired world. It is projected that by 2020 there will be 50 billion objects connected together (wired and wireless). This offers a great opportunity for the mobile commerce entrepreneurs to step into new domains like:
- 1. Appliance-to-appliance: Appliances interact with automated service scheduler
- 2. Appliance-to-business : Smart appliances send repair alerts to service provider
- 3. Appliance-to-consumer: Appliance sends routine maintenance alerts to consumer
- 4. Consumer-to- appliance: Remote activation of the smart appliances
As an e-commerce entrepreneur, mobile commerce adoption becomes an important milestone in your venture. Though adoption phase may be prone to integration problems, but nonetheless mobile commerce is critical to your success in the fast-moving, fiercely-competitive and technologically demanding world of e-commerce.
Here are important practical steps to take to prepare your business for mobile commerce.
1. Make the website, portal, and applications compliant to wireless.
2. Remote collaboration is increasing, due to better integration of wireless technology. Add wireless application protocol (WAP) applications to your existing e-commerce architecture to enable real-time sharing of data in remote locations.
3. Mobile technology helps in work collaboration across barriers of time and location. Small to big businesses can empower their workers to interact in real-time, share data and take informed decisions on different hand-held devices like Smartphone, palmtops, PDAs (Personal Digital Assistant), Laptops, Notebooks that are web-enabled.
4. Using 4G or higher bandwidth (available at the time) will speed up higher data flow across the devices and improve the user experience.
5. The mobile commerce system should be device independent. It should run on the variety of mobile device platforms – WAP, JavaMIDP, Palm, Symbian iQuartzi, and iCrystali.
6. Ensure compliance to different wireless bearers like WAP, SMS, GPRS and UMTS
7. Set-up identification, authentication, access control, and end-to-end data encryption in the security mechanism of the mobile commerce system.
8. Ensure exactly-once-execution at a time in all the mobile commerce transactions. This is necessary when stocks or expensive items are purchased.
9. Push notifications to the customer to inform about the shipment, out of stock status or when credit card is not charged. They will happen after the shopper has completed the purchase transaction.
With the new generation of Smartphones and other handheld devices, mobile users now play a pivotal role in the web world. A mobile website takes your business to millions of mobile users around the world.
The skyrocketing Smartphone sales and rapid integration in the global population point out that more consumers want information about products/ services and access to the database from their mobile devices. This new user behavior has a positive impact on the buying outcome.
Keeping this in the mind you should adopt following mobile commerce development strategies.
- Application design should be mobile user-centric.
- Mobile applications should run on client-agent-server architecture.
- Stringent security mechanism should be integrated to prevent data theft, leakage, and fraud in the wireless network.
- Mobile applications should be based on the latest Internet development technologies and tools. This includes modern application servers.
Mobile commerce has bright future. The emerging trends, development and integration of latest Internet tools & technologies, rapid Smartphone integration in the population and the paradigm shift of consumers to mobile shopping signal a new revolution that is waiting to unfold in 2017.
Perception System has remained forefront in mobile commerce development. With almost a decade of mobile development experience, Perception System has delivered path-breaking mobile apps over the time.
As mobile commerce moves on to the higher level Perception System is well poised to deliver innovative, cost-effective and trending technology based mobile commerce solutions.