The retail market segment is growing: sales are up, which is a great sign going into the holiday shopping season. And it’s not really a surprise to find that the retail venue expanding the fastest is mobile, or m-commerce. The sector is enjoying unprecedented growth as shoppers depend more and more on their portable devices. The latest estimates put m-commerce sales at over $100 billion this year, a more than 50% increase from 2016.
It should also come as no surprise that women are driving this growth. When comparing genders, female m-Commerce shoppers lead nearly 2-to-1 over male in a 2015 report. Mothers, in particular, are turning to m-commerce, leveraging the flexibility and convenience of anytime/anywhere shopping.
There’s no question that mobile commerce is making dramatic alterations to the retail landscape. Having said that, there are other pieces to the puzzle that often get overlooked. For starters, mobile is big, but at best it represents roughly half of total ecommerce … and e-commerce accounts for 10 percent or less of all retail sales.
So while a disproportionate amount of attention gets focused on e-commerce, regular brick-and-mortar retail stores aren’t going away any time soon. In fact, some professionals believe that online giants like Amazon will eventually have to expand into physical stores in order to survive.
Yes, m-commerce is huge (and growing), but it is still just one platform in a complex purchasing paradigm. Understanding this is important for business leaders who seek to capitalize on this new trend. Merchants must acknowledge m-commerce and adjust to it, but not at the expense of other revenue streams.
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Women not only shop more on their phones than men, the also do more product (and retailer) research on mobile devices than men, by a margin of over 10%. In addition, female shoppers are more likely to respond to a coupon or other special offer.
And not to enforce a cliché, but women seem much more willing to look up store locations and directions than their male counterparts. But unlike shopping in a physical store, mobile shopping is seldom a dedicated task: especially for women, it is much more likely to one of many activities going on at the same time.
Women, more so than men, will often admit they shop from work. The lesson here could be that the mobile shopping experience needs to be straight-forward and simple to encourage this type of multitasking.
Research also shows that female shoppers are more price-conscious than men (hence responding to coupons or offers), as well as more patient. As a group, they seem more willing to accept the trade-off of buying here and now vs. going online and saving money on a purchase that will arrive in just a few days.
Beyond being merely cost-conscious, women are quicker to trust the opinions of friends and family members, which means social media should play a bigger role in marketing targeted at women. Emotional messaging, as well, is more likely to get a reaction from female customers than from males’ … that, too, should be worked into campaigns, if possible.
The bottom line is, M-commerce will not replace all forms of retail shopping, at least not any time soon. But it’s still a buying platform that merchants can’t afford to ignore. Businesses need to work now to not only include m-commerce in their future plans, but strategize how this unique opportunity can be incorporated into their overall marketing plan.