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EDITORIAL Brief encounter: how retailers need to tap into fast mobile shoppers

Brief encounter: when customers engage

Brief encounter: when customers engage

Shoppers are embracing mobile – across most retail sectors, more and more shoppers are picking up their smartphones and tablets to shop. Good news in itself – at least they are buying – but it does throw up some challenges for retailers.

Across the peak season worldwide, mobile has had a good Christmas. According to US app marketplace, The Button Marketplace, shoppers spent 121% more than last year via mobile apps over the Peak period.

Perhaps more telling, across 2018, fashion sales went mobile: 46% of global fashion transactions being mobile, compared to 44% on desktop (the missing 10% is tablet), according to a new global study of ecommerce in fashion  from Nosto, an ecommerce personalisation and retail AI platform.

However, these increasingly mobile sales come at a price. While the data suggests that 58.1% of the traffic to fashion retailers globally is now on mobile, nearly twice as much as on desktop (31.5%), the average fashion shopper browses for 164 seconds when they visit a site on mobile – but 239 seconds on desktop.

This is the new challenge for retailers – how do you make an impression, engage with consumers and build a relationship when they are spending such a short amount of time, relatively, in your company?

Obviously this brief encounter means that mobile optimisation is now crucial. If it won’t load, or loads and looks rubbish, is hard to use, or fails to delight instantly then there is a good chance your customer will be off to find someone else who will give them what they want.

Delivering the most appropriate images and content and products in that instant is also a crucial part of this. It is almost as if retailers need to know before you arrive what the customer wants…

And that is where AI comes in. Retailers are already using AI in their marketing, but in extending that intelligence to how content is delivered is increasingly vital to the process of engagement – instant engagement.

The problem is only going to get worse too. Gen Z – your next tranche of shoppers – are going to be even more demanding. While research suggests that Gen Z actually like real-world shops, they are living in a hybrid world of real reality and digital reality (and, soon, virtual and augmented reality too).

The problem with them is that whatever channel they are engaging with retailers on at any given time, they want instant gratification.

For now, mobile needs to tap into this rapidity, but soon it will also be something that will be impacting desktop and even stores. This is the fundamental level of shift that is approaching.

So, while the industry is working on how to change the in-store experience, bear in mind that change is also coming to online and mobile. Be ready for those brief encounters.

Image: Fotolia

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