By next year more than half of the 49.6 billion visits to the top 500 etailers will be generated by smartphone and by 2017, smartphone sales will total $31 billion, almost 10 percent of all ecommerce sales. This is a compelling statistic I shared during a recent presentation at MobileCON in San Jose. The conference draws some 2,000 companies who come together to explore the market opportunities for IT mobile products and services in our increasingly mobile-app oriented culture. It was a great representation of senior mobile IT professionals and gave PlumSlice the opportunity to share our vision of how mobile places in the larger context of omnichannel ecommerce.
As I mentioned in my presentation, in an omnichannel marketplace, mobile shopping is going to be an even more powerful force-year by year. There are opportunities now to harness this mobile shopping power to increase sales and to enable shoppers to make the most advantageous use of the smartphones and tablets they love so much.
One of the areas of opportunity is a stepped up product information management system, which is a core technological element of the PlumSlice platform. With customers toggling between email promotions, websites and smartphone apps, it is critical that product information be consistent and accurate across all channels. Studies have shown the most popular reason for using a smartphone for planning or buying food, drink or groceries was to look up product information (45 percent). Second in line with 34 percent was to look up the location of a store. In third place was to carry out a price check (33 percent).
With pricing and product information top of mind for consumers using their smartphones, it makes sense to have a system in place that guarantees information is in sync with what customers will find on any channel they choose to employ.
Studies have also found that 73 percent of shoppers with smartphones prefer to reference their mobile device while in-store rather than ask a sales associate for help. A mobile solution that provides full product information – including specifications, stock, and crowd-sourced reviews – complements this behavior. And the information must be consistent across all channels to avoid in-store confusion or causing a frustrated shopper to turn away!
I also discussed the new opportunities mobile has for closing more sales in-store. Since 84 percent of U.S. shoppers have difficulty finding products on store shelves, mobile can help by, for example, recommending the best in-store shopping path based on a consumer’s in-app shopping list – a kind of GPS for products. Using mobile, a store could also suggest complementary products: if a person’s picking up peanut butter, inform them of a sale on jam.
As mobile’s presence shows no signs of limitation, it’s clear that integration of accurate product information and timely delivery of this information is critical to engaging the customer and encouraging more cash register rings, whether on websites or in-store.
We look forward to further exploring the implications of mobile and are continuing to work toward our 2014 launch of the complete system. In the interim, beta testing is open. Sign up as a beta tester by visiting www.plumslice.com
Til the next time,