Retail is an industry experiencing rapid changes, with big players trying to improve delivery times. Production speed and countless other factors to satisfy consumers with evolving needs and lifestyles.
While brick and mortar companies work to develop new channels to connect with their consumers, and online stores seek larger audiences, a group of newcomers are driving a shift away from traditional operations in an effort to capitalize on the mobile revolution.
An increasing number of them bypass stores and the web entirely by starting as an app. Here are the top reasons mobile is shaping the future of retail.
Mobile Is Taking Over e-Commerce
According to the 2016 Mobile 500 report, mobile commerce has grown to 30% of overall e-commerce and is likely to continue to grow at an exponential rate. The average mobile user demands engaging and value-added experiences, and with the proliferation of mobile options, consumers are becoming more discerning than ever.
Whether they are managing work communication, connecting with friends, or shopping, most consumers are adopting mobile options at an increasingly rapid rate.
As a result of that adoption rate, retailers are taking note and creating mobile apps for shopping. In some cases, retailers start their brand in the app store. Albert Wang, CEO and founder of PatPat, a retailer for moms and kids, told me how his team decided to begin their company as a mobile app:
“We knew that mobile was the future of not just e-commerce, but retail as well. That’s why we wanted to start PatPat as an app rather than a web experience. Our primary demographic, moms, use their phones as tools for running the household, so we created an app that would fit into their daily routines.”
Consumers Are Spending More Time on Apps
Mobile retailers are also leveraging non-traditional retail approaches like Manufacturer to Consumer (M2C) and fast fashion tactics to provide a different experience. Wang explains, “The entire industry is growing fast and mobile e-commerce provides a platform for this kind of innovation. For PatPat this means we’re able to offer quality products direct from the manufacturer. Which delivers savings to the consumer, all from the screen of their smartphone.”
Recent studies by Flurry Analytics demonstrate that almost 90 percent of all consumer mobile usage is spent in apps. This positions mobile retailers in the same space that consumers are already spending most of their time.
According to the same study, in the last year, social apps grew from 45 minutes of use per day to 68 minutes of use per day. Mobile shopping experiences also allow for greater degrees of social engagement. Additionally, they are providing opportunities for retailers to test pricing and sales models with minimal impact on time and resources.
“Social engagement is increasing when it comes to sharing retail experiences” says Wang. “And with more platforms for social sharing. Consumers are beginning to look at sharing as a key part of the shopping experience.”
Mobile Experiences Are More Engaging
Design and UX are critical aspects of the mobile takeover. People enjoy using apps because each has its own unique characteristics, unlike websites, which generally follow an industry standard.
The Adobe Mobile Consumer report shows that most consumers will only give an app a chance once or twice. If the app fails to meet their needs within that test phase they will go to another brand. Major retailers have frequently struggled to create quality app experiences, counting on existing customer loyalty.
Mobile is an entirely different kind of shopping experience, however, and that’s why PatPat and other online retailers are having success when starting with mobile apps.
Mobile Growth Is Exploding
Some people have claimed that mobile isn’t important because web purchases still represent a majority of online shopping. The year-over-year growth of mobile app purchases tells a different story.
In fact, the same Adobe study showed that when consumers decide to make a purchase, 57 percent of them prefer to use an app. The steady shift from mobile web to app-based purchasing indicates a desire for a shift from old web altogether.
All the data points to one conclusion: Consumers are looking for more mobile shopping experiences. And retailers will benefit from meeting the increase in demand with quality offerings. Soon enough, mobile retail will overtake traditional retail as the preferred shopping method for the average consumer.