December 18, 2014

How will mobile technology change the way we shop?

Can you serve customers who browse your webshop on their mobile device? It’s surprising how few Finnish stores are able to say they can. If your site does not support mobile users, chances are that you are missing out on sales. If customers are unable to browse your product selection, they will do a lot less impulsive shopping.

I have previously talked about how Finnish businesses should wake up to developing digital services since their customers are probably ahead of them.

How will mobile technology change the way we shop? According to research by comScore, online sales during Thanksgiving reached over one billion dollars. On Black Friday alone, sales reached over 1.5 billion dollars, and 47% of this figure came from mobile purchases. This means 705 million dollars of sales came from mobile devices in one single day.

Changes in online consumer behaviour also affect Finland. This past August, one fifth of web store traffic came from mobile devices. The amount has doubled in a year. The CEO of the Finnish railway company VR Mikael Aro spoke at this years’ Tiedon valo -event. He said that 36% of VR web store traffic come from mobile devices. Progress is clearly something we just can’t ignore -- rather, it’s something we have to embrace.

Should you already be using mobile payment solutions?

Mobile payments are something we shouldn’t be too worried about this Christmas. Next year, the situation might be different, though. It is estimated that Christmas sales in the Nordic region will reach 1.8 billion Euros this year. Based on the findings this August, it can be estimated that mobile shopping will account for 360 million Euros next year. And there is no reason to think that this progress is slowing down.

Web and mobile shops should support brick-and-mortar stores

Online stores should not be seen as a separate function or as an extension of the physical store. Rather, these two entities should be combined.

The customers’ buying journey has digital touchpoints throughout their entire purchasing journey. It’s important to understand this digitally-enhanced experience and try to benefit from it. Some benefits of indoor location services include:

  • You can develop new ways to grab the customer’s or salespersons attention
  • You can offer an extended product selection by combining physical stores and web stores
  • You can bring new kinds of social shopping experiences into a physical store

Stores can also move in a brand new direction. The famous web store Amazon has expanded from the web to physical locations.

How to begin

Instead of details and technology advice, it’s better to start with these bigger questions:

  • How can my company integrate our web store and mobile technology for our business goals?
  • How can I integrate new technology to support my business?

For many organisations, the best first step is to find a good and supportive partner.

Then, just start doing business with your updated plan!

Kimmo Timonen builds digital services together with his clients to enhance customer experience. You can find him on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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