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GUEST COMMENT The trends set to dominate mobile ecommerce’s future

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Gavin Lowther, digital operations director at Visualsoft 

The mobile ecommerce industry is booming, but most consumers aren’t using mobile out of obligation. They’re using it at home because they expect it to be quicker and easier, which has only accelerated due to recent events. Most of us are tired of hearing about Covid, but it’s important to recognise the phenomenal impact it’s had on consumer shopping habits, which has pushed mobile ecommerce to advance at even faster rates.We know that mobile is here to stay, and businesses should be doing everything they can to make their ecommerce pages even more mobile-friendly.

Breaking down technological boundaries

Improving technology has become one of the biggest drivers for consumers using mobile. The number of smartphone users continues to rise year on year, and the convenience it offers (in the form of quick delivery and hassle-free returns) means we’re no longer worried about past issues. For example, historically, some people wouldn’t buy off mobiles because of the concerns around using credit and debit cards online. Still, as ecommerce websites adapt even further to make shopping easier on mobile, devices are naturally becoming more advanced to cope and compete in what’s become an extremely competitive marketplace.New shopping trends are emerging that will only be available on mobile devices, and a great example of this is augmented reality (AR), which lets you do more immersive things like try a hair colour or see a table in-situ before you purchase. While it’s certainly not new, it’s historically been limited by the retailer’s ability to create this type of content – but those boundaries are slowly coming down, paving the way for increased engagement. For example, we partnered with hair extension company Foxy Locks which lets consumers ‘choose their next shade’ through an immersive filter, an initiative that generated a 65% increase in link clicks from new users.

The rise of social commerce

Social commerce is another exciting area that has helped mobile-first commerce explode to even higher levels. The ability to tag, link and customise your products through social allows customers to shop in-situ and purchase in-platform.The instant nature of it removes friction and improves the user experience. Boiling all of this down leads to a creative, design and video-heavy lead in the purchase journey which improves the overall shopping experience.This links in with the convenience of having mobile-first payment options, as a lack of these significantly reduces the customer’s ability to convert, and is something retailers also need to address. Entering email addresses, home addresses, credit card numbers and so forth is not conducive to mobile ecommerce, where purchase decisions are usually more instinctive and less thought out. Companies must remove this kind of friction to improve conversion, and those who don’t will be left behind.

Investing in in-store digitalisation

Brick and mortar stores will always have a place in the world of retail. They offer a unique experience to customers, but that doesn’t mean the technology isn’t catching up quickly.High street stores are gradually turning into somewhere customers go for leisure and hospitality reasons, not retail, which is why they should be looking to invest in more in-store digitalisation opportunities.In-store digitisation offers benefits for both the retailer and consumer. For example, some have had screens installed that use AR to view how clothes would look without actually having to put them on. Imagine trying on every item in the store virtually before picking out your five favourites.The other side to digitalisation is to link the store customer to the website customer, which needs to be a personal experience every single time, as consumers simply expect it now. When you walk into a shop and you’re greeted with ‘Hello Mr Jones, how are you? How did the jeans fit that you bought online, are they the ones that you are wearing now, they look great!’. These are the companies that will win in the next few years.

Industries paving the way for the future

Every industry will have a trendsetter – a pioneer in the market that utilises mobile in a way their target customer likes. The companies that fall behind will be the ones that refuse to adapt. For example, Facebook will allow you to buy products without leaving the app, and it’s this kind of activity that needs to be embraced. The future is looking more and more like micro marketplaces, and consumers will choose to shop where they feel most comfortable and secure.But for now, although companies should be aware of these up and coming trends, the most important thing they can be doing is creating a seamless mobile experience for customers. Considering multiple devices, browsers, operating systems, checkout options and optimised features like logging in with social or voice search are fundamental here – but above all, the best thing they can do is always keep the consumers’ interests in mind. 


Gavin Lowther, digital operations director at Visualsoft 

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