It has been observed that the retail industry is experiencing a significant paradigm shift driven by technological innovations. The increasingnumber of shopping channels providing insightful shopping experiences has profoundly impacted consumer behavior. The primary cause of this increase in the number of shopping channels is their mobile capabilities; their ubiquity has opened up a plethora of new opportunities for retailers to market and to engage with their consumers. Mobile as a commercial channel has been daunting the desk-top based eCommerce platforms as it recorded a year-over-year growth rate of 47 per cent in mid-2014 as compared with 10 per cent growth rate of the later. This is mostly because innovative mobile tools like shopping apps, location-based services and mobile wallets, enable retailers to deliver hyper-contextual marketing messages to consumers, wherever they may be.
Validating the scenario are the statistics of the India retail industry, which is expected to grow at a CAGR of 15-20 per cent PWC. It is predicted that India’s retail market will cross 1.3 trillion USD by 2020 from the current market size of 500 billion USD. For an eCommerce retailer or marketer, mobile phones present an incredible opportunity for your business. Shopify has reported that over 50 per cent of traffic that eCommerce sites receive comes from mobile devices. 29 per cent of the Indian retailers have mobile app with over 95 per cent aiming to go for it near future
Brands today are more embedded in a consumer’s daily life with the advent of mobile technology. Mobile commerce is picking up as a valuable revenue stream for retailers. However, it’s greater significance will be the interconnection of the Omni-channel shopping experience. Multichannel retail is now a passé as more and more customers are becoming accustomed to consulting many different channels prior to making a purchase. Based on this observation, brands are focusing more on providing exceptional, consistent and streamlined experiences across all channels like stores, desktop, mobile and call centers, as they have now realised that consumers are accessing many of these resources nearly simultaneously to make purchasing decisions. They have been able to adopt such Omni-channel strategies because of the evolving mobile capabilities, which allow them to follow digitally connected consumers anywhere and everywhere, offering brands unparalleled access to users.
This not only boosts brand productivity and efficiency, but also drives new channels of generating revenue and competitive edge. Apart from helping develop a one-to-one relationship with consumers, mobility also helps in building brand awareness, extending special offers and coupons, extending special offers and coupons, increasing sales and in-store traffic, acquiring and retaining customers, enhancing multichannel campaign efforts and streamlining or automating of overall operations. In addition to that retail messaging is utilising mobile solutions not only to communicate with their customers, but also to track and update their employees internally. Some International and India retailer giants like Amway, Future Group are utilising the medium of SMS/ Voice to stay connected with their customers and notify for best offers and deals.
Brands are also being confronted by difficult and new challenges as they work to leverage mCommerce. As mobile commerce has continued to cement itself as a significant revenue source and the volume of mobile purchases grows, retailers have been faced with a greater risk of transaction fraud. Many brands have responded by building out robust anti-fraud measures, although mobile transaction security has not been a top priority for all businesses. For retailers both big and small, fraud protection is critical to maintain consumer confidence in m-commerce.
One of the primary prerequisites to succeed in mCommerce and avoid shopping cart abandonment is to provide a secure and streamlined customer experience. However, most retailers have a long way to go in achieving that goal. It has been reported that a majority of the retailers have lost customers at some point during checkout or at the checkout point. With slight modifications to simplify the checkout process, retailers can easily stem this tide.
Success in the mobile age requires a shift in marketing to emphasize relevance over reach, invitation over interruption and even a service and utility-oriented approach over sales. Marketing was a business-focused endeavour; going forward it will be a customer-focused one, based on their passions, in the moment.
Authored By: Sanjay Krishna Goyal, Founder & CEO, ACL Mobile Ltd.