The world has changed
There is only one certainty, uncertain change. Pan-am, Kodak, Blockbuster, Nokia: companies that changed the world. While they admired their work, the world changed once more…without them.
Changes come in two forms: subtle and catastrophic. The former are most dangerous because they lull us into a false sense that the world will remain the same as it undergoes significant, enduring change.
Ecommerce has changed the way we shop and what we expect, the tipping point for retail has been reached. If retailers have not already adjusted their strategies, they are either gone or will be soon.
Alibaba broke another record, selling $17.8 billion in one day. We want to shop anywhere, anytime and want our purchases today, if not yesterday. Carriers are even making significant changes to their infrastructure to make that happen.
If the ecommerce tipping point has been passed and there’s nothing you can do, then why am I talking about it? Because we’re fast approaching another tipping point…
The winds of change are blowing again and are getting stronger
Last summer, Google announced that more searches took place on mobile than desktop. The stat that 86% of smartphone time is spent in-app is now a cocktail party staple and there are over 4 million apps available for download.
In October, mobile traffic surpassed one billion users on Facebook. Meanwhile, AMP pages are popping up in search results and Google is making a play for app traffic with their Android Instant Apps. Why all this talk of Facebook and Google?
Both are in a perpetual state of change: never just a social network or search tool, they monetize their user data by selling advertising space and more…heard of Shopify? Think Amazon Marketplace for Facebook users.
Google shops? Shops within shops for consumers to sample their goods…coming to a retailer near you. It’s the underlying theme that is important: we know that they are monetizing their traffic and that traffic is mobile.
If their traffic is mobile, your customers are too. KPMG ran a survey within 56 countries and found that 67% of those surveyed made a purchase with a smartphone during the last 12 months.
China led the way at 90% and, the US and UK followed suit in the 70% range. Remember Alibaba’s record-breaking $17.8 billion day? $14.6 billion of it was transacted on mobile. The winds of change are blowing and they are blowing toward mcommerce.
Where are the winds coming from?
If you just looked at the dry stats, you would see they were coming from mobile devices in general. Currently, the majority of mcommerce is transacted on tablets. But, it will shift to smartphones in 2017 as access to smartphones is effectively becoming a global human right.
Mobile wallets have been turning smartphones into payment devices. In spite of their slow adoption, mobile wallet payments are expected to increase 15x from $540 million this year to $8 billion in 2018.
Even if a consumer doesn’t use a mobile wallet, their ubiquity will continue to cause a psychological shift: consumers will become increasingly comfortable using their phones to transact business.
Coupon companies such as RetailmeNot are betting on this and are focusing their efforts toward mobile users because they are more likely to redeem coupons than their desktop peers. What does this mean?
Consumers are doing two things when they redeem a coupon: shopping and buying. If they are more likely to redeem coupons on their mobile devices, then they are more likely to be a buyer.
Change or disappear
This fact is THE paradigm shift that mcommerce is driving. It’s about the door that smartphones open for retailers and advertisers. Google calls them micro-moments, but they are just points along the consumer’s decision path.
You need to know where these points are and when they are reached. With this information in hand, you can present your buyers with relevant offers at these decision points. How you do this will largely be up to you.
Anyone can tell you to optimize for mobile, use social media as a traffic driver, use coupons at the right moment to influence a buying decision, and look into incorporating OS payment options (see mobile wallets): these are trends.
If you’re following trends, you are following everyone else and jumping into a saturated market. But, by understanding the shifts and predicting contingent shifts, you can plan ahead and move before everyone else. The winds of change are blowing and this change will be an enduring one…will you endure as well?