Recent articles about Electronic Commerce show an increase in mobile technology applications, or Apps, are increasing ecommerce sales fast pace. Mobile shopping, particularly on smartphones and tablet devices, is having an enormous impact on the ecommerce world, contributing to an increasing share of US retail ecommerce sales and exerting more influence on overall retail sales. No longer are consumers tied to their desktop or laptop computers in their homes. The continued advancement in technology is taking shopping on the go for many people. This paper will look at these recent articles and show how shopping on the go is changing ecommerce and what retailers must do to keep up with this fast paced market.
Mobile Apps driving up Ecommerce
Mobile Commerce, referred to as mcommerce, is the way many people are now shopping online. With the advancement of mobile technology such as smartphones and tablets and the mobile apps, a new way to purchase products from retailers has evolved. This latest and growing capability is allowing the consumer to virtually purchase any product available through any ecommerce retailer from anywhere they want. Ecommerce retailers are now recognizing that in order to keep up with this fast paced technology, they must make apps available to the consumer.
This year, 15% of online retail sales will take place via mobile devices; this is up from 11% in 2012. It is estimated that by 2017, the percentage will rise to 25% (Figure1). Overall estimates show that US retail mcommerce sales will reach nearly $39 billion in 2013, up 56.5% over 2012 and almost triple the amount spent in 2011. This includes products and services ordered online via any mobile device, whether payment or fulfillment happened on mobile itself or in person (EMarketer, 2013).
Figure 1. Estimated Mcommerce sales increase.
Undoubtedly, mcommerce sales replace purchases that would have otherwise occurred online via PC or laptop. But mobile is an ecommerce sales driver in two ways: It gives consumers reasons to shift spending from stores to the internet, and it stimulates incremental purchases that stem from impulse buying. Smartphones and tablets promote ecommerce by extending the shopping day and untethering consumers from the desktop or the store. Retailers have acknowledged that when it comes to online shopping, they must implement a mobile strategy. It has been revealed by a Forrester Research study that more than 20 percent of all ecommerce shopping is taking place from mobile devices and this statistic continues to grow each year (Siwicki, 2013). It is estimated that by the end of 2013, mobile shopping will make up more than 50 percent of all ecommerce shopping and become the most popular way consumers will shop online. With sales from mobile devices reaching more than $5.9 billion in the U.S for the first three months of this year, retailers are working hard to get mobile apps that are efficient and easy to use (Roggio, 2013). Given the growth in this market, retailers are taking steps to improve the mobile app shopping experience. Some of the things they are doing are increasing load times, creating finger friendly interfaces and making apps similar to standard PC sites. Many consumers get frustrated with load times from mobile apps. This is the one thing that can turn off a consumer and have him or her shop at another retailer whose app it faster and more efficient. Slow loading apps are definitely an obstacle that retailers must contend with if they want to keep their consumer base happy and expand to future consumers. Numerous studies of consumer shopping behavior have demonstrated that properly optimized mcommerce sites result in higher sales (Siwicki, 2013). With the expansion of good mobile operating systems, such as iOS and Andriod, retailers must consider the capital investment of designing and creating apps that operated rapidly and efficiently so the consumer has a pleasant shopping experience and wants to return to the site. Smartphone apps with well-developed user interfaces can make a world of difference in consumer satisfaction. Apps must be created so that they can used on most of the mobile devices. Today’s technology is geared toward finger-friendly interfaces therefore the app must support this in order to ensure a good shopping experience. Lastly, retailers should consider having their mobile apps look similar to that of the actual PC website. Consumers who are used to shopping online from home using a PC or website are more inclined to transition to mobile apps if the navigation between the PC site and the mobile app are similar. Consumers want to be able to find the same features and sections, regardless of which devices they are using to access an online store (Roggio, 2013). Retailers should consider using the same layouts and designs that consumers are used to seeing and using in order to appeal to them. This will certainly ensure ease of transition by making the shopping experience as close to shopping from a PC site. With some many mcommerce options for the consumer it will be impossible for mobile device users to download and use an app from every one of their favorite retailers. Consumers typically have three or four that they frequently use and/or favor. Another consideration of online retailers should be to put their products on already existing mobile apps like those from leading marketing places such as Amazon.com or Ebay.com. This strategy is a way for the retailer to capitalize from a major marketplace app that has already invested in increased load times, user friendly interfaces and PC site similarities. This will get their products into the marketplace with little investment capital and could result in increased sales revenue for many retailers while they contemplate their mobile strategy. This could also be just another way to get their products out to as many consumers as possible in addition to their own mobile app business plan. In conclusion, consumers are drifting further away from being tied to their PC and or laptop when it comes to shopping online. The advancement of mobile technology is creating new and creative ways for the consumer to get products from many of their favorite retailers from virtually anywhere they can get a wireless signal. Mobile devices along with mobile apps have paved a way for a new way of shopping that provides the same level of quality and confidence that consumers have come to know from online shopping at home. This newest capability has many retailers scrambling to develop mobile strategies that appeal to consumers and operate as efficiently as the PC sites. With the increased sales that occur from mobile apps and the estimated growth in the coming years, retailers have their work cut out for them as they strive to remain relevant and effective in this new marketplace.
Roggio, A. (2013). Practical Ecommerce. In 3-Part Mobile Commerce App Strategy . Retrieved June 1, 2013 from http://www.practicalecommerce.com/articles/4035-3-part-Mobile-Commerce-App-Strategy Roggio, A. (2013). Practical Ecommerce. In Optimizing an Ecommerce Site for Mobile Shopping. Retrieved June 1, 2013 from http://www.practicalecommerce.com/articles/4025-Optimizing-an-Ecommerce-Site-for-Mobile-Shopping Undefined (2013). EMarketer. In Smartphones, Tablets Drive Faser Growth in Ecommerce Sales. Retrieved June 1, 2013 from http://www.emarketer.com/Article/Smartphones-Tablets-Drive-Faster-Growth-Ecommerce-Sales/1009835 Siwicki, B. (2013) Internet Retailer. In Forrester Research Paints a Vivid Picture of the Typical Mobile Shopper. Retrieved on 1 June 2013 from http://www.internetretailer.com/2013/05/15/forrester-research-paints-vivid-picture-typical-mobile