The retail industry has witnessed a paradigm shift with the increased availability of smartphone and tablets. A sizable majority of mobile device owners frequently use their smartphone for shopping. Study shows that in 2013, more than 90% of smartphone users’ accessed e-commerce sites through their mobile handsets. That's compared with the 78% percent of desktop web users that accessed e-commerce sites. The importance of e-commerce on mobile devices is further reinforced by the study's finding that 35% of visitors to the most popular e-commerce sites only access those websites from mobile devices.
The use of smartphone and tablet is not just limited to m-commerce. In every industry including household items, apparel, and pet care, more than 70% of smartphone shoppers use their phones in store to help with shopping. In fact, two-thirds of baby product shoppers compare prices on their phones in-store. Currently consumers have product details, price comparisons and reviews available instantly at their fingertip. Study shows that consumers are turning towards retailers who provide an enhanced experience through smartphones vis-à-vis retailers who do not optimize their mobile experience.
Retailers are increasing mobility to enhance consumer experience in the following ways:
Providing an effortless cross-channel experience across devices - The Omni Channel Commerce
Leveraging mobile offers and coupons to increase in-store shoppers
Using QR codes to provide quick access to more information
Letting customers locate items easily using in-store navigation
Enabling mobile payments to reduce waiting lines
Driving mobile consumers to the nearest offline store using store locator
Making consumers confident about their purchases using product ratings and reviews
Mobile is a great way to give customers the best of both worlds – researching products online and interacting with knowledgeable employees at the time of pickup. It also helps customers start their journey on one channel and complete it on other thus creating seamless experiences that increase convenience and engagement.
Walmart’s is a good example in making with its focus to enhance customer experience. Sales through mobile channel have been low for Walmart. However the sales through mobile channel have increased drastically in the last few years. Walmart’s mobile sales have grown 130.1% in 2012.
Walmart emphasizes on enhancing customer experience. Walmart’s "Scan & Go" is a classic example of how retailers are increasing the shopper experience. "Scan & Go" is a way for customers to use their smartphones to scan the items they’re buying as they shop. Walmart introduced it with an aim to increase customer engagement. The technology was well accepted by tech savvy customers. Similarly, Walmart launched "in-store mode" with its app and within two weeks roughly 60 percent of its shoppers opted to use it. Currently about 12 percent of Walmart's sales that come through its app are coming from customers who are inside a store and using "in-store mode."
The retailer has also improved its mobile offerings for Sam's Club, with an updated mobile app contributing to a 25% increase in basket size. Shoppers using the Walmart smartphone app can also search store inventory via voice recognition or barcode scanning with a new integrated shopping list feature. Walmart also leverages on MCX mobile wallet to give consumers a faster and more convenient shopping experience while eliminating unnecessary costs. The MCX platform provides secure technology to deliver an efficiency-enhancing mobile solution available to all merchant categories.