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GUEST COMMENT The top three mobile retail trends of 2018

The explosive growth of mobile ecommerce is showing no signs of slowing down, and with Statista revealing that in 2018 projected global mobile ecommerce revenues amount to $669 billion, a $120 billion increase on 2017, retailers need to be thinking about mobile-first experiences.

Unsurprisingly, people are buying more than ever through their mobile, but why? As we look towards the end of 2018, what trends can we expect to see from mobile ecommerce?

Product discovery on mobile

At the end of 2017, mobile accounted for double the traffic of computers, and yet conversion figures for mobile weren’t close to matching. Mobile represents a massive opportunity for retailers to markedly improve their sales if they can convert the potential of traffic. One of the biggest obstacles to converting sales on mobile is product discovery. If a retailer has an extensive catalogue, it can be nigh on impossible for the customer to find the product they’re looking for – especially on the small screen. The impact of this is simply that they give up and decide to try again later on a desktop, or choose to switch to another site

A focus on product discovery will be front of mind for most retailers as maximising profit from major retail holidays becomes their sole focus. Navigating thousands of items to find the exact product that you’re looking for can be taxing. As such, retailers need to invest in technology that can learn from a customer’s behaviour online and use it to make the experience more intimate for the customer. Qubit’s research shows that mobile product discovery can impact digital revenue by up to 33 per cent. There’s a real uplift opportunity for brands on mobile, provided they can prioritise it, given many other seemingly important initiatives in the run-up to peak.

Mobile personalisation

One way that retailers could and should be looking to improve the mobile experience for customers is by making personalised the mobile experience personally. Adding a feature to a mobile site that uses a customer’s behaviour and browsing patterns to recommend products that are well suited, that can inspire them and also encourage interactions with parts of the catalogue that might not have otherwise been explored.

This is something that is more commonplace by the industry leaders in technology, and it’s an opportunity that we expect ecommerce to adopt more heavily over the coming months, using the likes of Netflix as a case in point.

Netflix uses personalisation to provide customers with a better user experience that is bespoke and encourages them to stay on the site for longer. What Netflix does well, is to ensure that they are personal from the get-go. When you first join Netflix, users are invited to pick a few shows they enjoy, so that Netflix can recommend similar shows they think that person will like; it’s simple but effective, and easily replicable on mobile. By personalising the site to the customer’s preferences on the first visit, it ensures that their experience is unique and makes them feel as though they have their site, rather than the same one as everyone else.

Mobile inspiration and user experience

Speed, ease of browsing and difficult product discovery are just a few of the UX pain points that mobile shoppers cite. If a mobile shopping experience is awkward or tricky to navigate, users will close the tab, that’s a given. Consider your normal mobile shopping experience, how often do you have to labour through a slow-loading menu or click through 4 or 5 sections to find the product you want? While these seem like small issues individually, collectively they are a pain, and if shopping on mobile isn’t convenient and easy to navigate, then it’s not doing fit-for-purpose.

To combat this, expect retailers to look to Spotify’s use of inspiration to improve mobile usability. Spotify has done an excellent job of utilising inspiration since its formation; encouraging users to find new music, by recommending artists they’re yet to listen to, based on their taste. This not only creates a nice personal touch, but it also encourages the listener to stay on the site for longer, consuming more content and driving more loyalty.

This is complemented by Spotify’s simple and compelling user experience which barely takes any clicks or swipes to get through to the catalogue, meaning that people can get straight to what they’re looking for – which is ideal for mobile. If retailers can eradicate the delays that cause potential customers to switch off, then their chance of a sale is that much greater. Mobile retail should be providing customers with new ideas and introducing them to content they were unaware of to maximise time on site.

As we move towards bumper dates in the retail dairy, such as Back to School, Black Friday and Christmas, retailers will be taking steps to bolster their mobile capabilities. People are browsing on mobile at the double the rate of desktop, so the challenge for retailers between now and the end of the year is to turn that interest into sales. With that in mind, expect retailers to take inspiration from the likes of Netflix and Spotify. A robust mobile experience is one that is easy-to-use, speedy, and empathises with the user.

Author: Simon Jaffery, product director, Qubit

Image credit: Fotolia

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