Emre Fadillioglu
Emre Fadillioglu 22 November 2022

More Mobile: Why it Remains the Future of Retail in Changing Times

We live in the mcommerce era. So why does it still feel as if the power is in the hands of consumers, not brands?

According to We Are Social/Hootsuite, 76% of consumers spent more time strapped to their handsets during Covid-19 lockdowns than they did prior to the pandemic. Many of them tapped into the novelty of shopping via mobile as part of a new wave of e-commerce activity.

In fact, mcommerce revenues grew by more than 15% between 2020 and 2021. Browsing now accounts for roughly half of smartphone activity, ahead of buying items (29%). It’s also more popular, and deemed easier, than physical window shopping.

That means today’s mobile retail apps have no option but to invest further to create a flawless, engaging product discovery experience.

Consumers expect to be able to shop wherever and whenever suits them. Brands must recognise omnichannel is no longer a buzzword; rather, a true description of the current retail landscape.

That also means the process of product discovery is no longer linear. Most shoppers say they use their smartphone to look up product information while they’re already in-store. A unified experience across channels is key.

So, what’s the secret to creating mobile-first marketing that turns consumers into loyal customers?

Blurring the Lines till They’re Gone

Only a few years ago retailers and ecommerce companies seemed determined to maintain clearly drawn lines between the two environments. This was evidenced in the extent to which products and prices varied between in-store exclusives and online offers.

Today, retailers and brands understand that the old divisions are not an option. The time-poor consumer demands products to be available, and comparable, across channels so they can shop with convenience and confidence. The lines today aren’t so much blurred as invisible.

So, when a consumer visits an ecommerce site in the comfort of their own home, on the move, or with their handset at the ready as they head in-store, brands must make the most of the chance to engage them and cut through against the competition. 

Truly capturing attention on mobile devices in a frantic retail landscape takes an omnichannel strategy and a great deal of skill. It means implementing effective messaging delivery in an environment when headspace and attention are limited; screen space is squeezed; and user retention is infamously difficult.

And that brings us to apps. According to Apptopia, the top 100 mobile shopping apps have garnered more than 12% year-on-year growth in downloads so far in 2022. The convenience apps offer is a major draw for consumers. What’s more, in-app shopping can be configured to provide the same retail therapy thrill we feel in-store but without leaving home - and the best experiences are personalised to the individual.

Effective and Engaging Content, H-appy Customers

It’s critical to inspire consumers about how it feels to buy and own any item by helping them to imagine. Brands should utilise their apps and mobile experiences to unlock new ways for people to connect and discover their products.

Here are some key features of engaging m-commerce apps:

  • Delivery of the right content to the right audience at the right time; a triple win made much easier by gathering first-party data on audience needs and expectations

  • For example, interactive stickers do more than encourage audience engagement, they also help you gather reliable first-party data on consumer preferences

  • Rich and personalised experiences through full-screen creative that captures attention, and converts passive users into loyal customers

  • Specialist shopping content displayed in full-screen mode, building engagement with product tags, swipe-ups and call-to-action buttons that take customers to product pages which interest them

  • Recommendations that activate first, second and repeat purchase via the power of personalised, interactive Stories

  • Quickfire polls, quizzes and emoji bars - unique, engaging interaction for consumers; insight for app and website owners

Let’s take a closer look at a key sales period in the calendar to bring all of those features to life.

Why the Holiday Seasons is the Perfect for Mobile Moments

The holiday sales seasons can be one of stress and overwhelm for consumers. It’s also a shining example of a time of year when Stories can help retail apps cut through the clutter.

Given the limitations of smartphone screens, it can be a challenge to display all product images and information at once. Stories offer the necessary added dimension, allowing brands to show shoppers more products in less time and space than traditional scrolling formats.

In other words, Stories are the missing piece in the puzzle of effective and engaging mobile experiences. They can also create a sense of urgency, reflecting the shopper’s fear of missing out. A slickly designed countdown sticker telling consumers to get a shift on and grab the goods can prove very effective.

Mobile has propelled the attention economy to new heights. The average adult spends almost five hours on mobile per day - but consumer attention is scarce and only standout brands will thrive.

Thanks to emerging tech platforms, mobile app and website owners now have huge scope to stop users in their tracks with impactful messaging. To claim a bigger place in their lives smart marketers are joining the rush to interactive, gamified and immersive mobile experiences.

That’s the way to provide ‘frictionless window shopping’ that surprises and delights users, and converts more browsers into buyers.

By Emre Fadillioglu, Co-founder & CEO, Storyly.

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