Hailed as one of the most important inventions of this century, the mobile phone has quickly changed the way we do a lot of things in our daily lives. Be it communicating, sharing information or even photography, the mobile phone as well and truly entered our lives like no other electronic device to date. No wonder, many people call the mobile devices an extension of themselves .Apart from the obvious uses of the mobile handheld device, it is also changing the consumer behaviour in another field, the field of shopping.
According to a report by IMRG Capgemini, 66 percent of all visits to retail websites during the last quarter came from mobile devices, compared to around 53% in the same period last year. This clarifies two points, One, that the mobile phone is increasingly becoming the preferred device of choice for the shoppers and secondly that the trend is increasing rapidly .Some fashion websites with’app only’ sites is a case in point. Let us find out how mobile phones are changing the way we shop and what are the implications thereof.
- Locational Advantage: There used to be time, not long ago when shopping used to be a chore. Getting to the market, finding suitable parking, finding the product, standing in serpentine check out queues used to be quite a distressing job but quite clearly, something that had to be done. The mobile phone has come to the rescue, thankfully. Now you can literally shop from the couch, anytime, anywhere. This is one of the most important reasons for the increasing popularity of mobile shopping.
- Always On: One of the most beneficial attributes of mobile shopping is that it is always on and available with the shopper. It makes it extremely easy and effective for the businesses to send real time push notifications and updates to the shopper, hence taking the personalisation to an entirely new level. Whereas in an online shopping experience , a shopper can realistically be intimated of a new product or the shipping status for example , only when he / she logs in into the system which can vary a lot , in a mobile shopping experience these notifications can be sent and received much more easily and effectively.
- Mobile wallet integration: Mobile wallets have turned out as a seamless, simple and efficient ways of making payments these days. With mobile shopping apps, the synergies are synchronised and mobile wallets are seamlessly integrated with the shopping sites /apps to facilitate an extremely quick, safe and simple payment solution. This efficiency in payment, resulting in faster checkouts has made mobile shopping quite popular.
- Ease of use : Whereas the web shopping portals need some basic knowledge of the internet and availability of a computer and internet connectivity , mobile phones are now a days a much more common sight and mobile data connectivity is almost universal . It is much more easier for an individual to use mobile phone for shopping because he/she is always carrying one and the mobile apps are much more simpler and menu driven in interface then , say , a web based shopping portal .
- Customized Product Targeting: Mobile phone behaviour is tracked and used by many online retailers for targeting a specific set of customers based on their geographical location and specific profile since tracking a mobile phone user is technically much easier than tracking a web based internet user using the services of GPS etc.
- Easy updates : Mobile applications are easier to develop and update hence giving newer and more modern options to the customers , the updates are generally automatically downloaded on the mobile phone and hence keeps the information on the app always updated , this provides the customers with more and more new products , at the same time allowing the web shop owners to advertise their new products and services much more efficiently and in real time without waiting for a reason for the customer to log on to a computer or visit a real brick and mortar store .
It is therefore quite clear from the above examples that mobile commerce is penetrating the market at a very rapid pace with almost all e-commerce websites now having a mobile app as well , to tap into the much larger mobile user customer base . Slowly, but surely, mobiles are really changing the way we shop and it’s doing it fast. Countries like India and China with ever growing number of mobile and internet users provide a lucrative opportunity for all mobile based businesses to increase their engagement to these groups and to bring them into the mobile shopping fold.
Author’s Bio: Phani is a passionate blogger who writes on various online topics like e-commerce, free classifieds and online shopping. When he is not writing, he is found reading articles and blogs written by others.