Mobile commerce is changing retail
The world is changing and must of this change is being born from technology. Mobile technology, in particular, has lead to a veritable revolution in the way people interact with each other and with businesses. Smartphones and tablets have become much more than simple communication devices and have begun providing people around the world with access to powerful social and commerce platforms. The emergence of mobile commerce has highlighted the need for retailers, in particular, to adapt to the growing importance of technology or risk losing touch with consumers.
Retailers throughout the world have witnessed the rise of mobile commerce in recent years, but relatively few of them have taken aggressive measures to make themselves more accommodating to mobile consumers. Most retailers boast of a simple website where people can find products they are interested in, but the majority of these sites are not optimized to be used on a mobile device. Moreover, most retail sites lack support for mobile payments. Some retailers have been showing resistance to the concept of mobile commerce because it runs parallel to the concept of e-commerce.
Some retailers express concern over mobile’s impact on physical stores
In the advent of e-commerce, retailers expressed fear that consumers would stop coming to physical stores in favor of shopping online. Much of this fear had proven benign, however, as consumers still made trips to physical stores on a regular basis to purchase products. For specialty stores, such as those dealing in a certain kind of clothing or those selling electronics, e-commerce did, indeed, have an impact. These stores saw traffic drop significantly as more consumers shopped via their computers. Many retailers believe that the same trend will emerge with the rise of mobile commerce, claiming that specialty stores will see more traffic fall away because of their inability to embrace new technology.
A recent report from research firm eMarketer shows that mobile commerce is making strong progress around the world. The report notes that mobile sales in the U.S. alone are expected to reach $41 billion by the end of this year, and $133 billion by 2017. Similar trends are being seen in Japan, China, Australia, and throughout much of Europe. The problem, however, is that many retailers may be missing out on the benefits that come with consumers spending more money through their mobile devices.
Though mobile sales are on the rise around the world, a relatively small number of retailers account for these sales.
Companies like eBay and Amazon lead the charge when it comes to mobile sales due to the focus they have put on embracing mobile commerce. Both retailers have been working to bolster their mobile presence after seeing a spike in revenue from the 2012 holiday season. This spike in revenue was largely due to an increase in mobile sales. Though both eBay and Amazon have found some success in the mobile commerce sector, these companies have had to make changes to their infrastructure in order to support mobile payments, a process that is both expensive and time consuming.
If retailers are unable or unwilling to embrace mobile technology in the way that consumers do, they may be missing out on significant business opportunities. Mobile commerce has become much more than a simple trend and is growing into something that could define the future of retail as a whole. There is a great deal of revenue potential in the mobile sector, but it can only be tapped by companies that take mobile commerce seriously.