How Retailers Can Win in the Mobile Moment

Jasper Bell, Digital & Commerce Strategy Consultant from Global Solution Partner Amaze has a few thoughts on our latest report: Mobile Commerce 2015.

To quote Episerver’s David Bowen, ‘talking about mobile commerce is almost an anachronism now’.

According to Episerver’s 2015 Mobile Commerce Report, a massive 79% of UK smartphone users and 87% of UK tablet users made a purchase in 2015. Mobile commerce is finally ubiquitous.

But are retailers moving at the speed of the consumer?

The average mobile commerce experience is... average

The report reveals that whilst top retailers are getting their houses in order by developing responsive sites and apps, the average mobile commerce experience score is still just 57%.

To truly change the game, retailers need to look beyond owned websites, apps and services, and invest in reaching customers the 99% of the time they are elsewhere. 

In truth, the only real step the average retailer has made in this direction is to implement programmatic and on-site personalisation. The net result? I will be ‘re-marketed’ to on the basis of the products I looked at last time with little appreciation of why I didn't buy.

Amazon and Google are among the winners

The businesses primed to win are of course brands like Amazon and Google who aren’t just selling on their own platforms. They are wrapping themselves around the journey offering payment solutions to the eternally logged in user wherever they are (Amazon payments) and burrowing their way into the life of the consumer with timely mobile notifications and recommendations (Google Now).

Similarly, apps such as Grabble and Mona that aggregate multiple shopping options and present these to the user at opportune moments are breaking new ground by making shopping effortless, fun and spontaneous. 

The result?

Truly personal, retailer agnostic players will reach the customer first, own the relationship and take a greater share of mind and voice in more and more (increasingly mobile) moments.

This has already happened in China where retail is already dominated by a handful of malls and increasingly, social-network-come-messaging services, all of which sit between the consumer and retailer. Tencent’s WeChat app is one of the key ways Chinese retailers converse and sell to consumers and offers a full payment service. Expect this model to move west now Facebook owned Whatsapp is at one billion users and counting.

Retailers need to tackle this challenge on three levels. 

Firstly, operate their direct channel as efficiently as possible and play to their strengths

This means direct ownership of product categories where they don't need to compete as aggressively, where they know people will come direct and are less likely to compare. One way round this (it takes nerves) is to only offer these categories on your own platforms.

Secondly, get serious about partnerships

Understand the app and aggregator landscape and size it. Approach and negotiate access through these intermediaries and only agree a payment model that truly reflects customer value. Once you have these customers use your own data and incentivisation to keep them and reduce the cost to acquire.

Finally, understand the customer journey

Map a complete picture of the journey and opportunity using your own and third party data and answer these questions;

  1. Where are your prospects starting their journey and when and where is a buying decision made? Is this pattern changing? If so, where is it headed?
  2. Where can you realistically compete using mobile or in an out of home or broader mobile context and what do you need to test?
  3. What is the size of the prize and what will it take to make it happen?

In summary, re-think your marketing mix, understand value, and test.

Want to know more about mobile commerce?

Read the full report: Mobile Commerce Report 2015 

Contact our partner Amaze for more information

Jasper Bell

Guest blogger: Jasper Bell

Digital & Commerce Strategy Consultant @ Amaze