Mobile usage has certainly come of age, from a period where mobile was restricted to sending/receiving text messages and calls, to smartphones that can be used to browse the internet, for shopping, for navigating an unknown city, and so much more. With many industry leaders already declaring mobile as the next big thing, technology companies are clamoring to create better and more intuitive mobile apps, and e-commerce players want to give customers the best mobile shopping experience.
What does 2012 have in store for mobile? Here are some of the top trends for mobile eCommerce:
Easy and quick payment options
Smartphone and tablet users are often disappointed by the lack of payment options on mobile websites. Because a mobile user may be wary of sharing financial information via phone, e-commerce players must give customers more payment options, particularly those like PayPal and Google Wallet.
In 2011, PayPal started a mobile payment processing system, where users need to enter a PIN and the amount is deducted from their PayPal accounts. This makes the transaction hassle free for the user, and may increase the likelihood of repeat purchases.
Late night shopping
One key trend mobile e-commerce players will see in 2012 is the increase in late night shopping. According to Channel Advisor, order volumes start increasing around 8pm and are considerably high till midnight, especially for high end luxury retailers.
By introducing mobile only discounts and coupons, e-tailers can tap into a new market to increase sales.
QR code scanning for smartphones
57% smartphone users use QR and barcode scanning on their smartphones to look up new products. By attaching QR codes to in-store products, brick and mortar shops can provide customers with a new method of making a purchase.
QR code scanning is a convenient option for mobile users who can use it to find and compare products from multiple retailers.
Tablet device shopping
A large percentage of mobile customers use their tablet devices, such as the iPad, to make e-commerce purchases. Mobile optimized websites for tablet devices expands shopping options for the mobile savvy consumer and also gives them more options to choose from.
If your company doesn’t have a website that’s optimized for tablets, you may think of expanding mobile apps and introducing them for all kinds of smartphones and tablet devices.
Comparison shopping and catalogs for smartphones
A great use of smartphones is the ease with which customers can use it in-store to quickly compare shop prices with other retailers online. While this may reduce sales if your product is priced high compared to other e-tailers, it is just another way consumers are expanding their options via mobile. As an e-commerce player, you may think of introducing additional deals or free shipping to counteract what your competitors are offering.
Another trend that will form the core of mobile e-commerce in 2012 is the increase in the use of product catalogs that are optimized for mobile use. By introducing clickable, purchase ready links to cataloged products, e-commerce players can expand their customer base on mobile platforms too.
How these trends pan out in the year still remains to be seen, but more brands are now launching mobile apps and mobile optimized websites to cater to a broader set of customers. With mobile technology becoming more intuitive and clever, brands may need to constantly revise their mobile marketing strategies to make sure they stay at the top of their game.