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What does 2016 have in store for mobile commerce?

As mobile’s unstoppable rise continues, we’ve taken a look at the impact mobile’s evolution and growth could have on your mobile commerce strategy during 2016.

E-commerce optimisation often feels like playing catchup.

We’re forever amending campaigns to answer recent changes in technology or consumer behaviour. We react because that’s all we can do, rarely are we presented with an opportunity to get one step ahead and have something in place ahead of the next big development.

We don’t have access to an m-commerce crystal ball, but if you take a look at the stats, we’ve got a pretty good idea of where mobile marketing is going in 2016.

Mobile use has exploded in recent years and like a growing weed it shows no sign of slowing. It’s seen year on year growth with 2015 experiencing the first instance of mobile overtaking desktop usage.

This represents a tipping point in the way consumers interact with online brands, and signifies a future where mobile is the number one device not only in usage, but for conversions.

You can continue to keep one foot in the past and focus on desktop campaigns, or you can future proof your business by focusing on the rising tide of mobile users.

Of course no one really knows what the future holds. But if we look at the developing trends and historical data, we can pick out a handful of actions that should help ensure your business is properly positioned for a successful 2016.

 

The end of responsive

Responsive has long been the marketer’s first choice for mobile optimisation because, well, it’s cheap and easy.

It reformats all content to best fit the device being used. It treats content like water allowing it to fill different displays in the most logical order.

Responsive is a great solution for sites that require nothing more than an aesthetically pleasing design. However, responsive just can’t quite cut it when it comes to conversion optimisation.

Responsive design, despite it’s good press suffers from the following problems;

  • It offers little customisation
  • It can ruin your conversion-centred visual hierarchy
  • All elements are loaded on page causing a slow page load (according to this Jerry Cao study of adaptive sites load in less than half the time of responsive).

Statistics on adaptive and responsive sites

With attention spans shortening and the average user willing to wait only 2-3 seconds for information retrieval load times are incredibly important.

Responsive has been something of a buzzword in recent years, but marketers are slowly realising there are better options out there. This data on the top 100,000 websites outlines that 2016 might just be the death of responsive which was, for lack of a better description, nothing more than a mobile optimisation stepping stone.

RWD ratios

Planet of the apps

In 2015 there was a 58% increase in the usage of mobile apps. Smartphone users actually spent 85% of the time they spend looking at their tiny glowing screens in apps.

Statistics on mobile use

Pretty staggering numbers right? But, unlike non-app mobile usage statistics there have also been impressive gains in conversion rates. According to Criteo’s state of mobile commerce, conversions on app can even outperform those on desktop.

Conversion rates on mobile

Seems as though app optimisation is going to be a major focus in 2016.

And it really needs to be. Not just because of the potential gains but because it’s exploring somewhat uncharted waters.

Right now we’re seeing huge numbers of in app conversions, but will they hold? There’s little experience in app conversion optimisation and marketers are expressing worry about this lack of insight.

Do we take the tried and tested method of CRO with e-commerce apps or will we discover a huge difference in user behaviour? Whatever the answer, 2016 will undoubtedly see a huge increase in interest and implementation of eCommerce apps.

 

Moving past the smartphone

Mobile usage isn’t alone in its rise, the last few years have seen the introduction and adoption of wearable tech.

There’s a lot of buzz around the term but right now the only real market is that of wrist watches.

Wrist wearables aren’t yet changing the game when it comes to mobile commerce, but a lot of the major players are already taking steps to implement a wearable campaign. Amazon and eBay have their own wearable apps out which, according to David Cheng, Director of eBay’s mobile products division is an effort to “ facilitate shopping whenever and wherever — on their desk, in their pocket, or even on their wrist”.

Right now a lot of the developments feel more preparatory than truly groundbreaking. However, there have been some rather inventive uses of wearable tech like that of US retailer Target’s approach.

They’re using Apple watches to make trips to the store more efficient with in store GPS and guidance.

Target on Apple Watch

Whether wearables will last in the long term is difficult to say. There’s little real estate to play with and there have been incidences with the small display causing problems for users.

Whether or not they last out the year we’re sure to see some interesting developments in the world of wearable tech and e-commerce.

 

Better personalisation

Personalisation has long been the backbone of effective marketing campaigns. It includes everything from the use of first name in emails to product recommendations based on past purchases, interests and browsing habits.

But m-commerce offers retailers new personalisation opportunities, among which is the incredibly effective location-specific marketing.

With proper use of a mobile device’s GPS reports marketers are able to:

But what’s of particular interest for 2016 is the implementation of beacon technology. Beacons are small, inexpensive pieces of hardware that reside in store and are aimed at improving the shopping experience.

Their primary aim is to provide real-time personalised offers and advice based on a number of historic and current behaviours. By linking to the store’s online analytics software beacon tech can present relevant offers based on your past purchase history to your phone.

They also map the in store movement of the shopper not only providing in store navigational assistance, but also determining what items are most appealing to the individual based on the areas they stopped to browse the longest.

Use of beacons statistics

Beacons are tipped as the next big thing for retailers, Business Insider Intelligence predicts that the technology will be used at 85 of the top 100 US retailers and influence $44bn in retail sales in 2016.

2016 is an exciting time for mobile commerce

Mobile has been growing incredibly quickly over the last few years. With the ramping up of beacon tech and the various ways savvy retailers are adapting to the tech 2016 seems set to be even more important than previous years.

Will 2016 see the death of responsive? Will we need to develop a unique approach to in app conversion optimisation? Are wearables going to exceed mobile usage or be seen as little more than a gimmick? And will beacon tech rule the eCommerce world as the next big thing?

No one can say with any real degree of certainty, but one thing is certain. If you can’t adapt your campaigns to include a comprehensive mobile commerce element, you might as well close shop now.