The trend in mobile commerce is now towards streamlining the purchasing process and enabling customers to use a variety of convenient payment methods.
Market analysis and marketing tools advisor PSFK Labs has recently published, in conjunction with payment platform specialist Braintree, a report entitled the ‘Mobile Commerce Playbook’. The purpose of the report is to provide recommendations and examples of innovative m-commerce solutions to retail professionals and brands wishing to develop an m-commerce strategy. M-commerce is becoming more and more widespread these days, as people increasingly keep their mobile devices close to hand day and night and many consumers are looking for a new customer experience, starting with an easier, more intuitive purchasing process. The report illustrates the three phases of the purchase process: discovery, purchase and post-purchase. Within these three phases, PSFK-Braintree identify eleven trends which are enabling mobile commerce to disrupt traditional in-store shopping.
During the ‘discovery’ phase, consumers nowadays want to be able to look at the range of products offered to them from a different angle that fits with their mobile browsing habits. San Francisco-based startup Soldsie, for example, has come up with a way to allow brands to sell their products directly on the Facebook and Instagram networks. The brand posts a photo of a product and invites fans and followers who wish to buy it to enter ‘SOLD’ in the comments section. The item and invoice will then be sent to the customer without any further ado. This approach enables brands and retailers to monetise their social network presence and meanwhile consumers can carry out their purchase smoothly without having to browse through a number of different websites. Image recognition technology is also proving to be a driver for m-commerce. In this field, Hiku Labs, also based in San Francisco, offers a device that links to your mobile app, allows you to scan product barcodes and add the product automatically to your shopping list so that you do not forget to buy it.
During the ‘purchase’ stage, there is a strong trend towards streamlining payments and also giving the customer alternative ways to pay for goods. Pre-programmed transactions also make buying easier, one good example of this approach being Dorothy, a wearable device that you place in your shoe. Connected to your smartphone, it can be pre-programmed to carry out a particular task when you snap your heels together three times – to call an Uber car or request a food delivery for instance. A range of alternative payment methods is emerging and online purchasers can also make use of crypto-money such as bitcoin. A slightly different trend is the idea of ‘social money’. This is not an alternative currency but a way for influencers with a large following to monetise their influence on the social networks. Norwegian clothing brand OnePiece ran a promotion campaign offering price reductions to customers with over 40,000 followers on Instagram. Meanwhile designer Marc Jacobs offered money-off deals to customers who tweeted using a special hashtag (#MJDaisyChain) designed to attract custom to his site.
The ‘post-purchase’ phase is all about customer loyalty and satisfaction. Mobile interfaces allow brands to create a relationship with a customer and persuade him/her to come back again. Yet another San Francisco firm, Thanx, lets you link your bank card to a range of brands that partner with the Thanx platform so that customers do not need to carry a thick wad of loyalty cards. Reserve, ‘your personal dining concierge’, is now live in New York City, Los Angeles, Boston and San Francisco. This app, designed to enhance the customer experience, enables you to reserve a table at a restaurant and pay in advance so that you can enjoy your evening without having to pull out your wallet at the end of the meal.
The Mobile Commerce Playbook highlights the need for brands and retailers to provide their customers with streamlined services, which most of the time can be incorporated into their app. In fact the ‘one-stop-shop’ approach – bringing services and products together on a single platform – is a very useful way of simplifying mobile transactions and the emergence of convenient alternatives to traditional payment methods is also set to be a key part of the m-commerce experience going forward, underline the PSFK experts.