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Editorial Board A Refereed Monthly International Journal of Management
Prof. B. P. Sharma
(Editor in Chief)
Prof. Mahima Birla
(Additional Editor in Chief)
Dr. Khushbu Agarwal
(Editor)
Ms. Asha Galundia
(Circulation Manager)

 Editorial Team

Dr. Devendra Shrimali
Dr. Dharmesh Motwani
 

E- Shopping using Mobile Apps and the Emerging Consumer in the Digital Age of Retail Hyper personalization: An Insight

 

Parag Sunil Shukla

Assistant Professor

Department of Commerce and Business Management

Faculty of Commerce

The Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, Vadodara

 

Dr. Priti V. Nigam

Assistant Professor

Department of Commerce and Business Management

Faculty of Commerce

The Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, Vadodara

 

 

Abstract:

Driven forward by technological innovation, the retail paradigm is in the midst of a significant shift. The proliferation of shopping channels has fundamentally impacted consumer behaviour, creating a more diffused shopping experience that is increasingly being carried out over multiple channels. Mobile capabilities are at the centre of this diffusion; their ubiquity has opened up a wealth of new opportunities for retailers to market to and engage with consumers. Mobile has become a formidable commercial channel. Moreover, through innovative mobile tools like shopping apps, location-based services, and mobile wallets, retailers can deliver hyper-contextual marketing messages to consumers, wherever they may be. Thanks to smartphones, brands are more embedded than ever in consumers’ daily lives.

As the rapid growth of smart devices, the development of mobile applications (App) has been gradually become the focal point which the enterprises pay attention. Since the “mobile applications” owns the characteristics of entertainment, functionality, information, socialization as well as intellectual stimulation and so on, therefore it gradually becomes the emerging innovative marketing tools for marketing. In this research paper, an attempt has been made to understand the key linkages between experiential value and usage attitude of the shoppers’ who prefer to use shopping applications. In this study an attempt has been made conceptually understand the complicated courtship between the connected consumers in today’s digital age and the emergence online shopping using mobile apps.  This research paper aims to provide a valuable reference for enterprises which are initiating or conducting the implementation of mobile shopping applications, and for researchers interested in the technological innovations in the future.

 

Keywords: E-Shopping, Mobile Apps, Hyper-Personalization, Digital Marketing

 

 

Prologue:

Digital is fundamentally changing how companies do business. Enabled by data and technology, digital is a continuous form of disruption to business models, products, services and experiences. It has radically changed the way people consume content, communicate, and access products and services. New companies are popping up overnight even as existing ones work to gain the required agility to compete in today’s increasingly complex market landscape. How an enterprise responds to the digital challenge will significantly impact its survival today and its success in years to come. Companies are exploiting opportunities and managing risks by becoming essentially digital. Digital technology has already disrupted established businesses in many industries. The smart and mobile led connected digital world is driving companies to build and support an entirely new technology infrastructure. This “technology web” is the interplay of leading edge Social media, Mobility, Analytics, Cloud and Internet of Everything technologies, which are empowering enterprises across critical digital dimensions including products and services, customer experience, operations and workforce.

The Smartphone is the new sun and everything else orbits around it. The growth of e-commerce worldwide is a testimony to this. With 235 Million people accessing the Internet only via Smartphone, online commerce in India is fast becoming ‘app-commerce’. Mobile friendly websites are gaining significance too, but apps are more critical as they offer personalization and help e-commerce players understand consumers better; communicate with them more frequently; and target them with relevant products based on their browsing history. In India, only players who figure out M-Commerce can ultimately succeed. But poor infrastructure and low-end Smartphone poses a challenge. Not all users have the bandwidth to update to the latest version of different apps regularly, leading to poor adoption of shopping applications. The app ecosystem is still new for the shoppers and also to the retailers. According to Manoj Gupta, Founder of Craftsvilla, 65 per cent of users uninstall the app after purchasing an item. Craftsvilla gets 25 per cent of its sales from its app, with a conversion rate of 50 to 60 per cent (http://yourstory.com/2016/03/indian-e_commerce-future-apps). 

However, retailers are still trying to understand how consumers use this new technology, who are the mobile device users and what they value. Smart phones and other mobile devices, as well as the technologies that came along with it like 3G, have grown in popularity. Therefore mobile commerce became a “business phenomenon” with a large potential market that is also blurring the lines between online and in-store Shopper experience (Zhang et al., 2012).

As the rapid growth of smart devices, the development of mobile applications (Apps) has been gradually become the focal point which the enterprises pay attention. Since the “mobile applications” owns the characteristics of entertainment, functionality, information, socialization as well as intellectual stimulation and so on, therefore it gradually becomes the emerging innovative marketing tools for marketing. Furthermore, with the increase in the population of mobile internet, many enterprises have developed and implemented mobile applications and further provide a wide range of applications to meet Shopper needs and improve customer service (ibid).

With the increase of mobile internet population, many companies have developed and introduced into mobile applications (Apps) and provides a wide range of applications to meet customer needs and improve customer service, and there are many online shopping websites continue to construct "mobile shopping applications" and further provides online transaction services in order to increase Shopper convenience shopping and expansion of marketing channels, and thus enhance overall operational performance. Since the mobile apps possesses the characteristics of entertainment, functionality, information, socialization and intellectual stimulation and other characteristics (Ho and Syu, 2010). Digital transformation, though in its nascent stage, is bringing about a revolutionary change in the consumer products and retail sector in India. On one hand, the dynamics of consumer behaviour are undergoing a change, as consumers spend more time online and multi-task between screens. Organisations on the other hand are directing their efforts towards building Omni Channel marketing and supply chain capabilities. Today’s tech-savvy shoppers’ are looking at brands for enhanced and interactive experiences and are seeking innovative solutions to address the growing need for convenience and more rapid “anytime, anywhere” solutions (ibid). This gives us a clear understanding that the consumer in this era of hyper connected world looks forward for a greater degree of personalization. The availability of the digital technology makes the shopper equally participative in the value creation process which leads to co-creation.

The growing proliferation of mobile devices, coupled with ubiquitous broadband connectivity, is rapidly bringing about a shift in consumers’ media consumption habits. Retailers are re-drafting their marketing plans and increasing digital spends to “go where the consumer is.” Digital is no longer an after-thought, and has assumed immense significance at the “drawing board” stage of campaigns for example, a leading fashion e-tailer uses in-house technology for virtual warehouse mapping, inventory management, and customer care and payments functions, i.e., merchants can log into the system to track how quickly their stock is moving from the portal (Ernst and Young, 2015).

Snapdeal acquired Freecharge in 2015 to offer a more seamless shopping experience to end users. Transactions over mobile devices are only part of the story. The shoppers are using manifold technology gadgets, smartphones and tablets before entering into the                       brick-and-mortar stores and are increasingly checking competitor prices and products before making a purchase decision. Blurring the lines between the physical and virtual, this growing practice of “showrooming” is forcing traditional retailers to rethink marketing and merchandising strategies and counter with innovations to minimize the loss of sales to online competitors and leverage mobile to enhance the in-store buying experience (ibid).

The modern day shopper is hyper connected with a wide array of platforms to interact with the retailer. The retailers’ needs to devise their communication strategies which are tailor made and customised to their shopper groups. The retailers need to create a personalised shopping experience that delivers relevant communications to customers drives engagement, loyalty and revenue. The retailers need to adopt the hyper- personalization orientation that delivers more value to both shoppers’ as well as brands by seamless assimilation of all aspects of communication. It is very important for the retailer to send relevant, targeted and meaningful messages to their shoppers’ on one to one basis on every touch point. This kind of consistently delivered hyper personalized shopper specific communication is possible by using state-of-the-art technology. The retailers can create repositories of the shopper’s purchases on the site or in-store which can help the retailer to create personalised messages and offerings by knowing their behaviour.

Hyper personalization enables the  retailers to deliver tailor made communications to shoppers’ according to what they’ve bought, what they’ve browsed, what they’ve clicked on in an email, what they have shared on Facebook. And these messages are delivered across the broad gamut of channels that a customer uses to interact with the retailer i.e. the mobile device, social media, tablets etc (Nectar Report, 2013).

Thus the e-tailers are challenged to implement mobile-specific strategies that address the lower time on site and fewer page views for mobile shoppers to improve conversion rates while incorporating mobile in an Omni-Channel environment that supplies a consistent and seamless experience across touch points to the modern emerging consumer who uses the mobile shopping applications. This is the key to succeed in this era of digitalisation. The chief objective of this research paper is to understand the complicated courtship between the connected consumers in today’s digital age and the emergence of online shopping using mobile apps. This research paper aims to provide a valuable reference for e-tailers who are initiating or conducting the implementation of mobile shopping applications.

Review of Literature:

The retail shopping experience is being revolutionized. While a decade ago e-commerce was taking hold, now consumers are demanding more convenience through mobile shopping     (m-commerce). Mobile shopping is when a consumer uses an internet-enabled mobile device (Smartphone, tablet, etc.) to experience and shop a store or brand. This radical transformation is expected to have significant effect in consumer behaviour and create a new battleground for retailers to compete online.

An attempt has been made by the researcher to review the existing literature on selected areas namely, Mobile Shopping Applications, Usage Attitude, Experiential Value, Aesthetics, M-Commerce etc.

Mobile Shopping Applications:

According to Paterson (2011), the total number of apps in App Store has reached 650,000, Google also announce the total number of apps in Google Play has reached 600,000, the overall downloads has more than 30 billion and 20 billion, respectively.

In recent years, many companies have been developed different types of mobile applications to meet Shopper needs and improve customer service; many "mobile shopping app" also have been developed by online shopping sites to enhance the customer’s transaction services and operational performance (ibid).

Mobile shopping has become a critical component in determining consumer shopping behaviour, since almost half of mobile research is conducted in stores. The consumers who utilize mobile, 90percent of buying behaviour are affected by Smartphone shopping (Retailpro, 2011)). A majority of consumers have the ability to use their phone to shop. A consumer’s personal relationship to their mobile device is an additional challenge that requires retailers to create a fundamentally distinctive strategy to serve this type of mobile oriented shopper (Walsh).

A consumer’s personal relationship to their mobile device is an additional challenge that requires retailers to create a fundamentally distinctive strategy to serve this type of shopper. It is lucrative for retailers to engage in the mobile shopping trend and generate a mobile retail experience that will capture consumers or they will be at risk of losing them to a more technologically savvy company. Currently, the mobile commerce industry stands at about $6 billion in revenue. Mobile sales are expected to grow 40 percent each year over the next five years, reaching $31 billion by 2016.

Shoppers are beginning to interact on multiple dimensions with retailing companies that demand a strong technological existence in both online and mobile formats (Greene, 2014).

Demand of smart phones has been increased due to its functions and popularity such as performing instant messaging, downloading mobile apps, connecting to the Wi-Fi and viewing entertainment programme (Park and Chen, 2007). Nielsen (2012) further pointed out that the retailer found that consumers are willing to use mobile applications to enhance their shopping experience, and the amount of use mobile apps continues to grow. The popular mobile shopping apps in India are snap deal, eBay Mobile, Naaptol, Amazon Mobile, Lenskart, Flipkart etc. Among which, eBay, Amazon apps have over 10 million users. Above all, how to effectively provide more functional mobile shopping applications to improve Shopper satisfaction is still the focus which the practitioners pay attention (ibid).

From the review of literature it becomes evident that with the proliferation of the mobile shopping apps used in the Smart phones that are targeting the young consumers group, the experience value is becoming one of the critical success factors in influencing the usage attitude towards the mobile apps among the Smartphone users in digital India.

Usage Attitude:

The concept of attitude is one of the most important issues being discussed in the field of consumer behaviour. Birgelen et al. (2003) defined attitude as ‘‘a psychological tendency that is expressed by evaluating a particular entity with some degree of favour or disfavour”.

 Malhotra (2005) defined attitude as a summary of appraisal of an object, and stated that beliefs is very important in person attitude because of its stability in mind, people have different beliefs in different objects and usually their beliefs lead them to the objects and change their attitude which can form positive or negative reaction. By responding to a service or a brand, people form their attitude measurement based on what they believe and how they feel about the service or a brand (Farris et al., 2003).

Solomon et al. (2006) classified attitude into three different components: affect, behaviour and cognition. Affect is described by Solomon et al. (2006) as the way of customer feeling toward a particular attitude object and the process is instinctive and less likely to be affected by availability of processing resources (Malhotra, 2005).

Whereas, behaviour involves the Shopper intention to do something to an attitude object (Solomon et al., 2006). Lastly, cognition can be referred to the beliefs that a customer has about an attitude object (Solomon et al., 2006).

Malhotra (2005) argued that people are able to control cognition process and it is obviously that this process will be affected by the availability of processing resources. Cognition and affect process are in opposite of each other in which means that if processing resources are low, then Shoppers are more likely to use affective responses but if processing resources are high, people prefer to use cognitive reaction. According to Hassan et al. (2011), both belief and attitude can influence on individual usage behaviour. A separate study carried out by Keng and Ting (2009) also indicated that experiential value has a positive impact on usage attitude. The dimensions of experiential value tested by in their research work include aesthetic, service excellence and playfulness, which are also the key terms used in the research study.

Experiential Value:

In the past, the value that stimulates utilization behaviour has been related to functional, conditional, social, emotional and epistemic utility (Sheth, Newman and Gross, 1991). According to Mathwick, Malhotra and Rigdon (2001), retailers are starting to place themselves as providers of memories and experiences rather than products and services, and convert the retailing environment as an interactive theatres rather than being as sales outlets.

Lee and Overby (2004) argued that value is subjective and it is resulting of exchange of experience by customers or individual perception which it is not simply a utilitarian value. In other words, experiential value perceptions usually depend upon interactions involving direct usage or distanced admiration of goods and services. These interfaces offer the foundation for the relativistic preferences held by the individuals involved (Holbrook and Corfman, 1985). Therefore, Wu and Liang (2009) defined experiential value as consumer assessments of service efficiency, service excellence, aesthetic, and playfulness in the service encounter.

Schroeder (2012) mentioned that the real experience can be faded but forgetting the experiential value will be harder. Holbrook (2000) argued that consumption experiences play important roles in the customer decision making.

M-commerce: A New Paradigm Shift in the Retailing Environment

Due to the massification of the Internet, shoppers have now a greater degree of control over the access and use of information than ever before, namely through social networks, search engines, like Google or Yahoo, and advanced mobile devices.

 

Mobile devices are always with them and became routinely devices for several activities namely communicating with others, listening to music, searching for information, conducting transactions and managing daily schedules. Also, because of the economy, consumers are more focused on shopping for the best offer at the best price, instead of hedonic spending (Shankar et al., 2011).

Therefore, the introduction of mobiles in a retail environment is changing the way of buying because consumers can now buy anything, anywhere through their cell phones (ibid). Cell phones brought convenience and powerful functions, introducing the “new era of the localization applications in our daily life” (Ngai and Gunasekaran, 2014).

The major challenge of optimizing mobile websites across an array of devices and mobile platforms could consume and sink an organization’s efforts to deliver a simple, seamless mobile experience to customers. Development tools that eliminate the need to create custom code for each and every platform give developers a faster, easier way to ensure that mobile websites are optimized for multiple devices and platforms. Responsive web design is an increasingly popular approach for creating a single website that optimizes content and layout for a variety of devices based on screen size, device and orientation, eliminating the need to design for a specific user device preference. Responsive design ensures organizations get the most out of web design efforts by providing a way for the user interface to optimize automatically for screen resolution, orientation or capabilities (ibid).

 Source: The Sharing Economy, Pricewaterhouse Coopers, April 2015 and Activist Insight.

 

In the above figure it is clear that the Technological Advancements especially in the Mobile World will be one of the most important drivers considering the fact that by the year 2030 approximately 3 out of 5 will own a connected mobile device. This clearly elucidates that there lies an enormous latent opportunity for the retailer to develop engaging mobile application platforms to drive the digital shopper.   Owing to this massive shift to mobile shopping, companies will need to develop a mobile-led Omni-channel strategy rooted in a “mobile first” mind-set. The retailers need to harness their store attributes by aligning them to the digital needs of the emerging shopper. The retailers can offer features like ‘Scan to Buy Products” from home or to use mobile-linked features to navigate a store without the help of sales staff. For retailers, a mobile and loyalty platform available on any mobile device and featuring all the functionality and information that customers need in order to make buying decisions and digital payments will be the key issues in the future.

A robust mobile strategy will involve not only developing their own digital assets but also optimizing their brands’ presence on the mobile apps. The retailers must meet shoppers’ rising expectations for being able to buy what they want, when and how they want it which means providing a seamless omnichannel experience.

By the year 2030, it is expected that retailers will be able to create new retail world and virtually driven stores that use augmented reality to give customers the experience of walking down a store aisle, for instance, or personalization engines that link to real-time biometric data to recommend meals with optimal nutritional content.

The modern day shopper who is keen to shop using the mobile applications is complacent at times when it is about the perceived trust especially while using the digital technologies because of a lack of transparency and control. Lack of transparency exists on the part of the retailer who uses a high end technology but actually fails to synthesize the various touch points of the shopper with this technology. This is the scenario specifically in the Indian context where the shoppers possess typical orientations for shopping. While using mobile shopping applications the shoppers are having a lack of control as the personalised environmental setting is unavailable.

This issue can be effectively taken up by the retailers by providing a unique wholesome satisfying experience to the shoppers on the mobile platforms. The entire in store shopping experience can be recreated using the various forms of technology so as to attract the digital shopper by providing a heightened sense of personalisation and co-creation. They must ensure that consumers have every opportunity to interact with the brand, be it through online or offline channels (Mckinsey Report on Consumer Goods Sector, 2015).

Key Discussions:

Retailers should consider dormant potential of mobile not only as a buying channel, but as a critical component of a greater omnichannel strategy. In an omnichannel context, mobile can be a bridge between channels while also enabling retailers to personalize consumers’ shopping experiences. Retailers should be more focused on building their mobile commerce capabilities so as to ensure transaction security to eliminate the element of fraud and risk of transactions for the shoppers, whether it is e-tailers or bricks and- mortar stores, are unanimous that there are three main areas requiring specific attention. The return on marketing spend, the ever changing payment solution landscape, and increased supply

Chain complexity three main areas that require specific attention by the E-Commerce players. 

The Omni-Channel marketing should directly lead to uplifting the overall marketing effectiveness as the Consumers demand a more personalized shopping experience, making marketing offers based on consumers’ shopping behaviour important. The majority of marketing spend is often derived from online marketing where Search Engine Marketing is the largest spend category. The adoption of payment processing solutions has traditionally been determined by the retailer’s tolerance for costs of the solutions to protect thin margins. The availability of convenient, mobile payment solutions often decides the shoppers’ purchasing decision as shoppers’ want quick, safe and simple payments.

Leading e-tailers should exploit this emerging trend by developing their own in-house payment solutions to control costs and to increase influence over what can be considered one of the most common reasons for customer rejection (Forrester, 2013).

An offering with separated, isolated channels with limited visibility across the various channels is no longer sufficient. Customers of the twenty first century demand accurate information in real time, no matter which channel they are accessing or where in your network they are situated. Whether in a physical store, on a computer or a mobile device, customers require the same high service levels at all times throughout the entire shopping experience. To continue to grow with the market, or in an ideal situation, outgrow the market, there are immediate actions that a retailer can take. These actions will also lead to long term profitability which continues to be a challenge in the e-commerce marketplace. Smartphone ownership and use is significantly higher among consumers who are 25 to 34 years old: 65 percent own a Smartphone and 68 percent use it to help with shopping in a brick-and-mortar retailer.

As these consumers get older, their use of smartphones for shopping is likely to remain steady or rise, even as younger consumers armed with smartphones enter their prime shopping years.  According to the Report of Deloitte Mobile Influence Survey (2012), the adoption of smartphones and hand held devices has gone up considerably for shopping related activities. Also, while initial use of smartphones for shopping varies widely by store category, once consumers start to use the device in a particular type of store, they tend to consistently use it for more than 50 per cent of their trips within that category regardless of what the category is. The research report reveals that Smartphone shoppers are 14 per cent more likely than non-Smartphone shoppers to convert in store. The research results show that over 60 percent of mobile shoppers use their smartphones while in a store, and another 50 percent while on their way to a store. For many Smartphone owners, it’s not enough that you provide a mobile-optimized version of your website with basic product information and transaction capabilities. A more relevant and tailored in-store shopping experience using a retailer’s dedicated app and website can result in Smartphone shoppers that are more loyal and valuable. Conventional wisdom says that today’s consumers merely use retail stores as a showroom before buying elsewhere. The survey results echoed this threat, finding that 37 per cent of shoppers surveyed that used a Smartphone on their last trip used an external app or website (such as a price comparison tool or deal finder). The survey findings indicates that 85 percent of consumers surveyed who used a retailer’s native app or site during their most recent shopping trip actually made a purchase that day, compared to only 64 percent who didn’t use the retailer’s app or site. That is a huge increase in conversion rates (Deloitte Mobile Influence Survey, March 2012). This research report clearly indicate the enormous underlying potential that is yet to be explored by the retailers in Indian Retail market who are still trying to create an online presence and enhance competitiveness. It clearly elucidates that the mobile app is simply not a medium used by the modern day shopper for carrying out a transaction owing to its convenience value. The retailers need to refine their orientation by understanding that the mobile app has to provide a pleasing experiential value for the virtually connected shopper (ibid).

Managerial Implications:

Given this acceleration, the modern day retailers are at a tipping point in retail – a point where digital channels should no longer be considered a separate or distinct business. Instead, digital technology is fundamental to the entire business and the entire shopping experience, in and out of the store.

As this new reality begins to have a greater impact, retailers should change dramatically the way they think, measure, and invest in digital marketing and address their customers’ digital needs and wants.  A generic digital strategy, in and of itself, is no differentiator for retailers.

An effective way for retailers to harness the power of digital is to create a customized digital strategy and distinct digital experience that both address and correspond to the needs and expectations of customers. The shoppers’ want relevant information and different touch points that correspond to where they are in their shopping experience. The features and functionality customers encounter at each touch point should correspond with the activity of the moment. Overall, shoppers are looking for an experience that is consistent in terms of branding and information across digital device platforms. The retailer will not help the sale process by building more functions into your digital platforms. Shoppers’ want better, not more, tools. To capture greater market share, the retailers must consider how you can they build more streamlined functionality. That way, the shoppers’ will use the dedicated apps instead of more general search engines that might lead them to a competitor’s site. The retailer should not only focus on converting the visitor into a shopper but help him/her in browsing or comparing products or prices. If she is ready to buy, help her check out and avoid unnecessary wait time. Treat e-commerce, tablets, and mobile platforms as shopping engines, not just conversion engines. The retailer also needs to become social media friendly. The Social media outlets can be valuable tools for both customers and retailers.  In a preferred scenario, product information, style expertise (from bloggers, designers, etc.), and personal recommendations (from trusted friends and family members) can be integrated strategically into the broader shopping experience.  To drive traffic to your store, be creative and confident in promoting relevant products to your customers through social media.

Plenty of attention is being paid by retailers, consumer products companies and the media to these new digital channels. And for good reason, given the hype surrounding them. However, it’s important to understand who is really using these channels. Understanding the differences of shoppers’ is essential in determining where to make digital investments, particularly in new channels like social media and mobile apps. For example, in mature markets, companies would do better making careful, selective investments in mobile apps and social media at the moment, but in developing marketing those channels are more relevant and should be the first priority for a digital strategy and investment. The retailers should primarily focus on understanding how shoppers are using channels and devices in the context of their daily lives as a critical starting point to serve them in a relevant manner.

Concluding Remarks:

This research study aims to contribute to the less researched area of online shopping specifically using the mobile applications. The Shopper experiential value while shopping using the mobile applications will be the key aspect in the coming decade for the retailers who are planning to take the mobile route. From a managerial perspective this study aims to provide retail managers with a broad conceptual framework to improve online shopping experiences of their shoppers by cultivating a better understanding. This research study has made an attempt to provide a solution for positioning and brand image enhancement by showing how experiential value plays an important role. This can help managers with their segmentation and targeting purposes by investigating and knowing the digital shopper.  

As m-commerce applications and wireless devices are evolving rapidly, one will take forward the other one towards empowering innovation, versatility and power in them. There are a number of business opportunities and grand challenges of bringing forth viable and robust wireless technologies ahead for fully realizing the enormous strength of    m-commerce in this Internet era and thereby meeting both the basic requirements and advanced expectations of mobile users and providers. The mobile Internet channel has opened up new possibilities. There is a big gap between technology‘s capabilities and the consumer‘s expectations. But, the good news is that problem areas like slow transmission speeds and high costs are being addressed by operators and equipment manufacturers.

M- Commerce players need to improve the user interface soon and implement innovative pricing structures. Despite the initial frustrations of the users, consumers envision that once the glitches are worked out, mobile applications will become an integral part of their daily lives. On the other hand, Investing in m-commerce has its risks. Today’s retailers compete on a complex, mobile landscape populated by ever increasing streams of real-time data. The winners will be those that are best able to capture and analyze data and deliver optimally personalized and relevant digital experiences to markets of one. Retailers should consider developing new or improved mobile apps that provide key tools and information to help and influence shoppers at each stage of the decision-making process—especially while in the store. Also, retailers should recognize that consumer needs vary by product and shopping trip, and customize mobile app capabilities accordingly. Smartphones are most likely to be used for store-related shopping when the customer is close to or at the point of making a purchase, rather than as a passive shopping device.

The mobile landscape is changing and the pace of innovation is breathtaking. Retailers should consider investments now to leverage the mobile capabilities of today, while not getting left behind as mobile evolves and becomes an even more integral part of the shopping experience. Retailers should take steps to understand their customers and how they shop within specific product categories. Based on those insights, retailers can develop appropriate mobile capabilities to support the needs of a Smartphone-enabled shopper before, during, and after the shopping experience. Retailers that limit their mobile focus to M-Commerce may be overlooking a significant opportunity. Mobile is already having a major impact on store-based sales, and its influence is only increasing.

By enabling mobile capabilities at each stage of the store-shopping journey, retailers can influence sales revenue and potentially improve conversion rates. Retailers can also significantly influence the customer experience including what factors influence the customers’ buying decisions.

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