The mobile phone has undeniably ingrained itself deep into people’s lives across the globe. The numbers are staggering – there will be 5.07 billion mobile phone users across the globe by 2019, 2.6 billion of whom are expected to use smartphones, as per Statista.
Numbers don’t lie
This rapid growth in mobile phone usage has serious implications on shopping and business. Whether you are a retailer, airline, restaurant, utility or a financial service provider, mobile is swiftly becoming an essential part of your business. It is estimated that in 2015, US mobile retail revenues grew by 57.4% compared to the previous year, as per Statista. Mobile penetration will continue to surge and why not? Mobile devices have remarkable portability, location awareness, easier app access, touch-based interaction, in-built camera, and more. They are lighter, cheaper, and more intuitive to use. For businesses, mobile capabilities offer a profound opportunity to create better experiences, enhance customer relationships, and get a valuable and more holistic view of customers.
Gear up for the mobile shopper
Clearly, businesses cannot afford to sit on the fence any longer and have reached a point where they need to truly think and act mobile-first, and fast. This means that alongside e-tailing, businesses must focus on offering a seamless mobile shopping experience – right from the initial engagement to transaction and finally, the delivery of the product. Merely having a mobile-optimized website is not enough. Customer expectations have evolved – they are looking for a faster, easier and more responsive experience while shopping. Mobile apps meet these expectations as they allow more efficient interactions and engagements with features such as check-ins, likes, shares, and more. And today’s customers not only expect mobile to be part of their shopping experience, but also to be consistent across all shopping channels.
Enable cashless transactions
The ease of shopping experience must be carried forward to payments too. Poor shopping or payment experience cause customers to abandon their carts, and in some cases, stop using the app altogether. In fact, the demand for conveniently and directly transacting with other consumers and services, in real-time, is rising. According to a 2016 study conducted by Auriemma Consulting Group, approximately 27% of US smartphone owners say they used Apple Pay, Android Pay, or Samsung Pay at some point. Ultimately, mobile payments must be as cheap, safe, and easy to use as traditional payment methods for everything – from everyday shopping to taxis, utilities, restaurants, and more.
Create synergies with integrated payment and rewards
And as payments go digital, businesses must make sure their loyalty programs keep pace. Integrating loyalty and rewards with mobile payments will be valuable as it will create synergies, providing businesses with an ongoing customer engagement channel and enabling a more seamless shopping journey. Some companies have already embarked on this path. Take Wells Fargo, for example. The company recently upgraded the ways customers can keep tabs on their points of sale. Customers can now see their rewards alongside their other accounts and view them on a mobile phone, tablet, or computer. Starbucks and Target have built-in rewards programs in their own apps, which makes in-store purchases easier.
Offering mobile loyalty programs will help improve customer service too. Take the example of Home Depot which leverages data gathered in its store app to offer a personalized service when the customer arrives in-store and checks in. This kind of personalized customer service helps significantly grow revenue and improve customer satisfaction. In addition, mobile loyalty programs can boost sales among loyal customers. For instance, Kohl’s loyal customers make, on average, two additional trips to the store and spend USD 80 more than infrequent customers over the course of a year.
Without doubt, mobile e-tailing differs from other channels as mobile phones enable different functionalities. Therefore, businesses need a distinctive and optimized strategy to adopt and leverage it. That said, the focus remains the same – make it simple to buy.
To enable uninterrupted mobile experience, Skava, an Infosys company has built a mobile-first platform from ground-up. It gives businesses the freedom to create highly engaging shopping experiences on mobile and increase conversions. Our platform supports responsive and adaptive websites as well as native and hybrid mobile apps – all of which can be created and maintained by non-technical teams via the platform’s next-generation experience management. Our platform’s loyalty microservice provides a simple and effective API-aware loyalty system that can be integrated into any retail offering to reward and incentivize user behavior. It allows an easy integration of various redemption options such as vouchers, coupons, products in kind, cash back, pay with points, etc.