Shopping now goes tap-tap

Annie Mathew | Updated on December 24, 2014

As m-commerce explodes, smartphones enable consumers to buy what they want online with just a tap on the screen

Smartphones today have become an omnipresent tool to make calls, share messages, and connect on social media networks. The latest trend that has sprouted is the access to products and services with a mere touch. Smartphones work as a full-time genie to give consumers/users access to products ranging from groceries to gadgets to shoes to clothes at great prices, and buy them with just a tap on the ‘smart’ screen.

According to a ComScore study, ‘India Digital – Future in focus 2013’ , the fastest growing category in online retail is apparel (21%), followed by computer software (16%) and comparison shopping (15%). And with direct access to a smartphone, the entire process of purchasing products online becomes far easier and convenient.

A mobile offers limitless possibilities and with the support of an ever-evolving ecosystem of innovative applications and content, the reach of a product or a service becomes more specific and result-oriented.

Contextual shopping

The dependence on smartphone applications is now more than ever before. In December 2013, Flurry Analytics tracked a record 4.7 billion app sessions in a single day, for a total of 1.126 trillion sessions for the whole year, leading to the conclusion that sessions numbering 1.126 trillion are a figure big enough to establish the increasing dependency of mobile applications in our daily lives. The mobile application space has been capitalised well by m-commerce (shopping via mobile devices) and e-commerce companies which are using apps as a leveraging tool to reach the direct consumers and cater to them at the speed of light. It can also be said that m-commerce is driving the e-commerce market in a huge way. As per Frost & Sullivan, “the network-based segment of m-commerce applications in India will record revenues of $1.26 billion with close to 72.5 million subscribers by end 2018.” This is further testimony to the fact that the consumption of products and services via smartphones is not only growing but is expected to grow at an exponential rate in India in the future.

To get first-hand details of a product, a consumer first browses it through a smartphone. This helps in increasing online traffic to a particular e-commerce website and also, in most instances, leads to the sale of the product via smartphone.

Consumers now want more from a shopping app than just a list of items and a payment process. They want to get to the category of choice, compare rates/features and buy — all in three-four clicks, not more. Customers also do not want soliciting unless they are in the mood to buy. Contextual shopping is an area that is evolving. One can’t wait to see the marketer who masters this art – from all the data that consumers expose – right from customising personal products and services. For example, when someone is thinking of a holiday, give them holiday packages you want to sell, when they want to buy a new phone they will be happy to hear more about those discounts and features.

From physical to digital

For compulsive shoppers, marketers have used technologies such as geotagging to reach to them directly and provide them with services relevant to their requirements. A recent survey by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham) found that Delhi is the city most adapted to e-commerce methods, followed by Mumbai and Ahmedabad.

It is amazing to see that the rate of technology adoption has increased threefold and with e-marketers pushing content on smartphones at a fast pace, the e-commerce industry is here to stay for the long haul. Across the globe, established brands such as Zara, H&M, Marks & Spencer and Debenhams are investing heavily in creating the right mobile application with the right interface and design to reach out to their consumers. E-commerce brands such as Flipkart, eBay, OLX and Quikr too have personalised mobile applications for the end users.

As the line between buying online and browsing on the internet blurs, smartphones are playing the catalyst in converting every physical touch-point for the consumer into digital.

With more and more consumers becoming digitally aware and glued to their smartphones, the explosion of m-commerce will continue. We are in the process of witnessing a complete change in the way consumers behave and make choices. Thanks to the mobile, e-commerce is not only easy and convenient but just what the shopper wanted.

Annie Mathew is Director, Alliance and Business Development, BlackBerry India

Published on November 20, 2014

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