Many retailers consider it their next big opportunity, while for others there remains a mysterious quality – perhaps, even for some, inconvenient. But make no mistake; the evolution of mobile shopping platforms is reshaping the e-commerce landscape forever.
So, like it or not, merchants have to adjust. Whether that means developing a mobile website or an application for the multitude of today’s devices – or all of the above – the most successful e-retailers will always be the ones who willingly accept, even embrace, change.
To help foster that glass-half-full outlook, and provide some helpful tips along the way, below are some of the best opportunities awaiting your online retail business in the mobile space:
Speed is of the essence when it comes to customer relationship management, and the mobile platform provides opportunities that simply were not available before now. Whether it involves an SMS messaging protocol to thank customers on their way out of a store’s physical location; real-time product descriptions, inventory and pricing information, or the distribution of daily, weekly or monthly online coupon notifications – the mobile channel can significantly enhance a retailer’s dialogue with customers.
They are not going away, and for good reason. Perhaps the leading catalyst behind mobile commerce, location-based services and platforms can – and will, for many – be a retailer’s best friend. Merchants should begin by ensuring that they are easily searchable by their mobile customers, and then add to their presence with features such as alerts, coupons, ratings and reviews, inventory, etc.
Recent studies have shown that mobile shoppers use their devices most frequently to compare the prices of in-store products with other products online. Retailers that have taken the time to establish a mobile presence but neglect to take advantage of comparison shopping engines are losing customers to this process. And it’s not just enough to participate today; in the mobile age it is imperative that every bit of data remains accurate in real time.
Payments and Barcodes
Much more than a simpler way for consumers to complete transactions, the mobile payments movement and mobile barcodes provide retailers with increased opportunities to offer promotions, cross-sell and upsell. Each barcode and/or mobile payment system adopted by a merchant gives that merchant the ability to use a landing page for a specific product or category purchased through that channel, allowing for customized messaging to an entirely new group of customers.
While it may seem new and even somewhat intimidating to many of us, mobile commerce has arrived – and it is here to stay. In this ever-flexible world of e-commerce, the most content merchants a year or two from now will be the ones that accepted this latest change rather than running from it.