5 Mobile Commerce Trends and How to Capitalize on Them By Darcy Silvers Grabenstein

VideoDocPres / Pixabay

With the advent of increasingly sophisticated technology, it’s no longer business as usual for ecommerce merchants. What was cutting edge yesterday may very well be old news by next month, or even next week.

So how do you keep pace with these changes, and keep ahead of the competition? A good place to start is with mobile commerce. Let’s take a look at several
m-commerce trends and what they mean in terms of merchandising, marketing and more.

It should be no shock that, according to Criteo’s State of Cross-Device Commerce report for the second half of 2016, cross-device retail is poised for growth. Last year, approximately one-third of online transactions involved two or more devices, the report states.

Following are four key m-commerce trends, along with the opportunities they present for online merchants.

1. Digital wallets

Mobile commerce extends beyond simply having a mobile-friendly site. If you have a brick-and-mortar store, you’ll want to accept payments via mobile devices.

Several of the more frequently used digital wallets are Google Wallet, Apple Pay, Android Pay, Samsung Pay and PayPal. Other digital payment systems include Venmo and MasterCard’s Masterpass, which is being promoted rather heavily in recent weeks via TV ads. Note that Masterpass, unlike Apple Pay, is compatible with Android devices.

Digital wallets appear to be a win-win for both merchants and consumers, with most apps (except for PayPal, which charges businesses) free of added fees. Merchants may, however, incur third-party costs to implement Masterpass on websites, apps or in stores.

2. Think of it as MMM-commerce

A Facebook study revealed that Millennials, moms and multicultural shoppers are driving the future of mobile shopping. What do these three audience segments have in common? They are younger, more diverse and more focused on mobile overall.

Ask Millennials how much cash they carry on them, and you might be surprised to find that many carry little or no cash. They use their phone to pay for parking, for food, for Uber, you name it.

Smart online merchants will keep these consumer segments in mind when determining their product assortments, particularly on their mobile sites. If changing the product assortment isn’t an option, think about how you merchandize your existing products. You might want to reconfigure product categories based on these demographics.

Is your site available in Spanish or other languages? You might want to incorporate a translation tool into your site. Google offers a free translation plug-in that generates code, in just a few clicks, to add to your website.

3. Monetization of apps

App developers have long accepted advertisements to offset development costs. Consumers who prefer free versions of apps realize that this is the tradeoff they must accept.

Now there’s technology such as Stripe’s Relay that enables merchants to sell their products on other apps and, vice versa, enable app developers to allow merchants to sell products on their own apps. Relay utilizes an API that supports direct sales from apps and social media platforms.

By offering your products on mobile apps, you can strengthen your existing customer base by making products easily available to consumers. You also can expand your customer base by introducing your products to those who use specific mobile apps.

4. Card readers for mobile phones

If you’re a merchant without a brick-and-mortar store, a card reader means you can accept credit card payments wherever you’re selling your wares. This option is great for merchants who sell at street festivals, farmers’ markets and other outdoor venues.

Square, which received top ratings from PC magazine, is one vendor providing card reader capabilities via mobile devices. Its pocket-sized hardware enables merchants to accept both near-field communications (NFC) payments and old-school credit card swipes. Other options are PayPal hardware and mobile

5. Location, location, location

Some might argue that it’s Big Brother-ish, but geo-targeting, geofencing and beacons are hotter than ever. All three technologies locate consumers via their mobile devices. Geo-targeting enables merchants to deliver targeted messages to mobile phones within a certain geographical radius. With geofencing, merchants set up a virtual fence around their location so that when customers are nearby they receive a push notification. And beacons can serve up coupons and other offers once the customer is physically in a store.

Beacons use Bluetooth technology, a cost-effective option for many retailers. Where do you begin? Select a mobile marketing platform that supports location-based campaigns. Do some comparison shopping, as app integration and other features vary greatly among vendors.

It’s never too late

Of course, it’s never too late to jump on the m-commerce bandwagon. Take it one step at a time. Depending on your budget and timeframe, you can create a mobile commerce site from scratch or go with an all-in-one solution.

If you already have an ecommerce site, make sure it’s mobile-friendly. This is important not only from a user-experience perspective but in terms of search engine optimization (SEO) as well. Google penalizes sites that are not mobile-friendly. This means that such sites will appear lower in search results than their mobile-friendly competitors.

Not sure if your site is mobile-friendly? It’s easy to find out. Google offers a free developer tool that lets you enter the URL of a website to see if it’s mobile-friendly. This free online tool lets you see what your site looks like at various screen sizes. If you don’t like what you see, it’s time to develop a responsive website.

In short, if your website or physical store is not mobile-friendly, you’re missing out on sales opportunities. You also are likely losing sales to your competition. Savvy merchants are those who embrace, not shy away from, mobile-based commerce solutions.

via Technology & Innovation Articles on Business 2 Community http://ift.tt/2w0Pf5F

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