How mobile is reshaping the entire shopping experience

Recently, a mind-blowing statistic became a reality: There are right now more active mobile devices on this earth than human beings. According to GSMA Intelligence’s ongoing count, there are 7.66 billion active mobile devices versus 7.3 billion people.

Specifically, the number of smartphones is growing as well — a fact that is perhaps less shocking to most ears, considering we see smartphones and their effects around us every day. According to a Forrester study, smartphone adoption in Asia-Pacific is projected to nearly double in the next few years, from one billion unique users reported in 2014 to two billion users in 2019. And globally, a whopping 6.1 billion smartphones are expected to be buzzing around by 2020.

Already, this new era of mobile connection is impacting human life across borders, industries and homes. Let’s examine one of the most basic consumer activities of all: Shopping. The mobile mega-trend is impacting both consumers and retailers in a profound way and it is happening both in stores and online — especially when mobility and data analytics converge.

But the move to mobile is really just getting started, as the rapid growth of smartphone usage and mobile optimisation of shopping experiences continue to feed one another.

According to Deloitte Digital’s recent study, digital interactions influence around 64 cents of every dollar spent in retail stores — a grand total of US$2.2 trillion last year. Moreover, Master- Card recently revealed that Asia-Pacific consumers continue to embrace mobile shopping, with half of those surveyed having made a purchase using their smartphones in the three months prior to the survey.

These numbers are growing more rapidly than originally expected — both a cause and an effect of the mobile transformation.

For instance, consider retailers planning their marketing budgets. In the past, retailers had sometimes found themselves prioritising the old-school print media advertising cycle simply because that was the way things had always been done. Nowadays, retail analytics is helping companies to visualise their marketing channels — and highlighting the importance of online ads, as shoppers use their mobile devices to search and compare products and prices even while in a shop. In fact, Deloitte stated that “consumers who use digital while
they shop convert at a 20% higher rate compared to those who do not use such devices”.

The mobile mega-trend is helping retailers to beef up the conversion rate of shoppers too. With the omnichannel boom, customers have grown accustomed to knowing exactly which items are available regionally and when a product may be ready to be purchased or picked up at a store near them. To entice more purchases, some companies are publishing product counts on their websites, mobile apps and in-paid advertisements — and even offering the exact location of where the product is available, down to the aisle and bin at a specific store.

Above and below: Insightful data analytics platforms that effectively harness the explosion
of much needed data are, therefore, the kingmakers of today’s mobile shopping world.

While this practice can improve the customer experience, it can also create problems if data is inaccurate. As inventory data resides in many different places within the omni-channel eco-system, it is critical for retailers to be able to blend and understand that data minute by minute.

That brings us to an important point: Mobile is not just for shoppers or employees on the floor. Merchandisers can also leverage real-time inventory data to power automatic replenishments, adjust orders according to sales spikes and understand the flow of inventory within the company’s pipeline.

With so much at stake, even those working in back offices and distribution centres can no longer rely on paper reports alone. They, too, need data in hand to make on-the-fly decisions about sales, inventory, labour, supply chain demand and operational efficiency.

Whether we are talking about retailers, shoppers or even supply chains, working with live mobile data on a daily — or even hourly — basis is becoming the new normal. Indeed, retailers that are able to grab the attention of shoppers and giving them exactly what they want via data analytics will be on the road to win their loyalty — a win-win situation for all.

Mobile data on customer online shopping habits, trends and store inventory is a resource that retailers need to tap to gain an edge in the highly competitive retail world of borderless retailing. Insightful data analytics platforms that effectively harness the explosion of much needed data are, therefore, the kingmakers of today’s mobile shopping world.

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