To those who view challenges as opportunities, the advantages and disadvantages of mobile commerce are one and the same. Often, what makes mobile marketing a great thing is also what opens it up to greater risk. The ability to reach consumers on a wider scale is a benefit, but with that benefit come thousands of competitors who are just as anxious to take advantage of these avenues. Mobile commerce might offer more scalability for brands, but at the same time could open them up to attacks from scammers.
Many brands that have only focused on brick-and-mortar sales are now struggling as consumer shopping habits shift from the physical world to desktop and mobile devices. The path from discovery to purchase has changed, and now brands need to be able to reach consumers as they travel and to connect with them in those valuable moments prior to purchase. Understanding the advantages and disadvantages of mobile commerce creates the opportunity to maintain real-world sales while growing digital ones.
Making the Most of Mobile Commerce Opportunities
Brands that put all their eggs in one basket are missing out on opportunities. This is something even major online retailers recognize. An example of this is Amazon, a primarily online powerhouse that made the very recent decision to open physical shopping locations—with great success.
Mobile offers a lot of opportunities, both for connecting with new audiences and allowing brands to expand market share as they gain insight on the behavior of consumers.
- Global reach: Mobile commerce allows brands to enter markets they’ve never considered before. It’s estimated that two-thirds of the adults in the world will own smartphones by the end of 2018. This large user base offers a lot of potential sales leads for brands.
- Better data: Mobile commerce provides brands with better consumer data, as it’s part of the entire purchase process. In a traditional retail setting, the consumer comes into the store, makes a purchase, and leaves. Little insight is provided as to why they make the purchase. With mobile commerce, brands can connect with these consumers from the moment of discovery all the way through purchase, giving the brand access to valuable signals of purchase intent.
- Rapid expansion: Mobile commerce allows brands to avoid market saturation issues by changing their slant and focus to differentiate themselves from competitors. As new markets open and are discovered they provide extensive sales opportunities to brands.
- Scalability: Through mobile commerce, brands are better able to scale everything from inventory to marketing. For example, they can increase their mobile app marketing when consumer interest spikes and downscale when interest wanes.
- Targeted timing: Mobile commerce allows brands to reach consumers at the right time, whether they’re browsing for an item in the evening or shopping in a store during a lunch break. Geotracking technology and programmatic advertising help us connect with these consumers in those moments before a purchase decision, increasing the likelihood that the purchase will be completed.
It’s clear that mobile commerce offers retailers and brands significant advantages, whether they’re trying to reach a new market or rolling out a new product. The data and access that mobile commerce provides can be an excellent way to expand market share. However, with those advantages also come challenges.
Turning Mobile Commerce Disadvantages into Advantages
It’s understandable that so many companies are focused on mobile commerce. As the market was estimated to reach $2.29 trillion by the end of 2017, mobile commerce trends began dominating the digital marketplace. This surge has created a few challenges in the mobile space for brands to overcome.
- Competition: Companies across industries are shifting their attention to the mobile marketplace. That means while there might be thousands of customers entering this avenue, there are also thousands of competitors doing the same. Brands need to find a niche or market to focus on to gain competitive advantage.
- Increased fraud risk: The risk of fraud in mobile marketing is high and marketers are largely not prepared to deal with it. In one study, more than 60% of marketers admitted they weren’t prepared to prevent fraud in their mobile marketing. Brands should make sure their partners are compliant with TAG and MRC standards, as this shows that these companies are aware of fraud in mobile ads and are taking measures to prevent it.
- Privacy concerns: As companies are given more access to consumer’s data, they also have a higher responsibility to protect it. Brands and retailers should ensure that any marketing partner they work with has a clear set of user terms, so users know exactly how their data is being collected and shared.
- Brick-and-mortar exclusion: Brands that focus too heavily on mobile commerce could do so to the detriment of their physical locations. One way to avoid this is to tie the digital and physical space together by offering consumers a shopping app. With shopping apps, like Shopkick, consumers can use their mobile device to assist them with in-store purchasing or with making purchases online.
- Less consumer connection: Mobile commerce and online shopping are often seen as impersonal, which is why brands must try harder to make a consumer connection. Offering consumers rewards or personalizing messages can help remove the impersonal feeling of mobile commerce.
The best way to get around issues with mobile commerce is to treat it as an enhancement to the traditional shopping journey, rather than as a replacement. In this way, brands can offer mobile shopping to those consumers who demand it without alienating established customers who prefer traditional shopping.
An ideal way to manage mobile commerce advantages and disadvantages is by partnering with shopping apps. With them, brands can connect with consumers and stand out from the competition. They can also gain access to important purchase data, reach new markets, and scale and time their messages perfectly. The 10 top mobile commerce advantages and disadvantages show us how to use digital not to replace the physical shopping experience, but to improve upon it.
Image courtesy of Wayhome Studio