Our Managing Director Mark Hurley recently wrote an article for NZ Apparel magazine on the emergence of mobile ecommerce and the Omni-channel shopper. This is a republication of that article.
The internet has redefined what retail is; the channels through which consumers can engage with and purchase retailer’s products has never been more diverse. Today, retail success means reaching consumers wherever they are, on whatever device they may be using.
Ecommerce adoption among retailers in the apparel industry is growing at breakneck speed, faster than any other industry in fact. Ecommerce sales now account for 17% of all apparel sales. In 2014 we saw more apparel merchants than ever embrace omni-channel retailing to enrich their customers shopping experience and bridge the gap between offline and digital channels.
Consumers are no longer discriminating between mobile and desktop when it comes to online shopping. Mobile devices now account for 50% of all ecommerce traffic. 33% of ecommerce sales in 2014 were completed using a mobile device, more impressive than that, is the fact that this was just 23% in 2013.
Put simply, mobile shopping is going to be huge, it is growing 3 times faster than traditional desktop based ecommerce, and as was the case with desktop ecommerce, early adopters will be poised to gain valuable customers and market share. This is what you need to know about mobile ecommerce, and how to prepare your retail offering accordingly:
Take a mobile first approach
In order to understand how to make a good user experience across mobile, you need to understand the “responsive” relationship between the desktop and mobile versions of your website. Taking a desktop website design then resizing and rearranging elements from it onto the mobile version is typically how this is approached. This approach is cost effective and arguably better than nothing, but for ecommerce purposes it is fundamentally flawed.
Mobile ecommerce needs to be approached using a mobile first approach, with a focus on creating the best possible user experience, using a separate mobile theme independant from the your desktop website. 61% of customers have a better opinion of brands when they offer a good mobile experience, 41% of customers have turned to a competitor’s site after a bad mobile experience. Your mobile ecommerce offering should be specifically fit for purpose in order to achieve comparable conversion rates to your desktop site.
Choose the right technology
Modern website development tools such as Angular and React now means retailers can create great shopping experiences across a mobile web browser. Your mobile website should be fast, smooth and snappy in response to customer input. If the customer feels like they are sacrificing their shopping experience by using their mobile phone vs their computer, then the conversion rates between desktop and mobile ecommerce are going to be drastically lower. With mobile traffic now over 50% of all ecommerce traffic you can’t afford to be sacrificing conversion rates because of a bad user experience (UX).
Digital isn’t just about ecommerce sales
If you are a multi-channel retailer offering both ecommerce and in-store channels, then you need to realise digital doesn’t just drive ecommerce, it gets people in store. And this digital influence doesn’t stop at the entrance to your store - smartphones are now used as a personal shopping assistant for people once they are inside your physical stores. 71% of shoppers who use smartphones for research in-store say that it's become an important part of their shopping experience.
Digital now touches every step in the customer journey, and the smartphone is driving this. Modern retailers need to understand that more and more consumers are omni-channel shoppers who purchase through both online and in-store channels, across a variety of devices. These omni-channel shoppers present a dramatic shift in how we need to think about retail, but it is a change that comes with huge opportunity for those merchants who get it right.
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