Smartphones are increasingly becoming an essential part of the overall purchase process. Consumers are constantly searching and curating products and services they are interested in through their tablets and smartphones. Empowering retailers with information through mobile apps/sites has the potential to enhance and revolutionize the whole buying process.

Statistics do not lie. A clear trend can be seen as the world progressively relying more on mobile technology due to its availability and easy to use. 84% of smartphone users were found to use their mobile in-store according to Google Adwords( 2013)

Mobile Commerce 2014 Survey

Source: google adwords (2013)

Although the sale conversion rates are lower on smartphones as compared to traditional e-commerce, smartphones play a big a big role in influencing purchase decisions. Shopping isn’t confined to physical outlets these days. Retailers cannot limit the shopping experience to retail stores and must design experiences for smartphones and tablets as well.

With the advent of affordable smartphones, India has seen a spectacular rise in smartphones, leaving a huge potential for businesses to grow and develop in this arena.  Additionally, due to the lack of access to fixed broadband lines in the country, smartphones are increasingly serving as the window to the internet, overtaking the PC in terms of internet traffic (graph 2).

Desktop vs Mobile Traffic India 2014

With customers having access to price comparisons, product reviews and product details at their fingertips, this migration to smartphones has implications the whole business. For instance, this would also affect the way you train employees, as 1 in 3 smartphone users prefer to use their phones for asking store employees for product information(Adwitiya, 2014a). Moreover, Competitive price matches for white goods are becoming imperative due to price comparisons online.

Whether it is an ice-cream parlor around the corner or a multinational corporation, innovation is the key to success in today’s ever-changing business environment. Here are 5 ways in which your business can have a better reach to the mobile-savvy consumer.

  • Vouchers: Giving consumers access to mobile vouchers that can be redeemed for in-store purchases is extremely effective to increase in-store purchases. According to Juniper Research (2012), Mobile vouchers are redeemed 10 times more often than printout and traditional vouchers combined.
  • Loyalty Programs: Mobile technology makes loyalty programs more engaging, innovative and easy to use for the customers. It also serves the purpose of creating a community around the product, which, in turn, increases the value of the product. Returning customers, according to Inc., spend 67% more on average compared to first-time customers (as cited in Shaw, 2013). Mobile-based loyalty programs can allow for mobile tracking of points or reward redemption. Loyalty programs with visibility and accessibility perform the best.
  • Responsive design: A website that looks cumbersome on a 5-inch mobile device will not make a consumer favourable towards the brand. The goal is to create a website that translates equally well on PC, tablet and mobile devices as well as provides a personalised shopping experience by using GPS location, purchase history and push notifications. Responsive design can make customers feel more comfortable leading them to spend more on their phone.
  • Mobile Payment Processing: Investment in secure mobile technology can be done to take payments from customers. Smartphones can be used to pay for products in physical retail stores, in order to skip long register lines. This would make the trip to a retail store shorter and more efficient for the customer as well as the retailer.
  • Big Data: With the huge amount of data digital businesses have access to, it is essential to invest in data-minded people who can interpret your company’s big data to guide business decisions and improve the shopping experience. Fair privacy policies also should be in place so that customers are able to trust the company with their data.
Supriya Lahoti