The age of mobile ecommerce is upon retailers, and in order for them to remain relevant there are several factors they must understand, consider and adapt to in the coming years.
While many businesses believe that the billions of dollars spent on smartphones, tablets and other devices has been mobile commerce, it has in fact been mobile ecommerce.
This is a major difference and the foundation of what businesses need to understand in order to remain competitive in the evolving retail market, according to a Forbes report by John Caron, the vice president of a mobile shopping marketing company.
Mobile ecommerce is the transaction made over a mobile device with an ecommerce website, like eBay, Amazon, or the thousands of others. Mobile commerce, on the other hand, gives consumers the ability to buy goods in a store through a solution that directly integrates with the physical store, Caron asserted.
In 2012, Caron said mobile commerce will develop and evolve and become a major technological trend as two elements will be integrated and updated into the current model: convergence and context.
Convergence is exactly what it sounds like, as it is the combination of physical stores with mobile applications. Shoppers today want to be faster, smarter and more efficient with the help of mobility. But convergence is more than what's available now, according to Caron. Currently, customers can use mobile applications to compare prices, conduct research on products and do some online shopping.
However, innovative retailers need to expand on this and create a unique experience for their shoppers, rather than just another application. These solutions should save time, money and effort for the consumer while still being seamlessly integrated into the physical store. This is convergence, and retailers that neglect to adapt and create these services will be left behind, Caron continued.
The next element of the mobile commerce evolution is context, which personalizes the experience to each individual shopper based on what they want, where they are and what they've already researched or purchased, Caron said. These technologies are already available, as retailers can make predictions and trends of purchasing habits for specific consumers.
By integrating these two features together, the mobile purchasing world and business' transaction management policies will change completely.
According to an eMarketer report, more than 109 million Americans will have smartphones by 2015, accounting for more than one-third of the nation's population. As mobile purchasing habits continue to evolve and change, retailers should prepare to adapt to survive.