The online retail experience used to be fairly straightforward, with a simple grid of product images, menus, a cart or basket, and a checkout. Now, of course, as consumers’ expectations have evolved with the proliferation of smartphones, so too has the online retail experience.
New business models enabled by new technologies epitomize a rapidly changing retail scene. For example, omni-channel, multichannel, social and mobile commerce have multiplied the opportunities to engage with today’s always-on consumer. And in an increasingly crowded marketplace, retailers are keen to take advantage of new opportunities to differentiate themselves amongst the field.
In terms of consumer behavior and expectations, there are several important consequences of this evolutionary path.
First, consumers no longer carve out specific Internet time to search and shop for a specific product. Instead, they multitask to fit online shopping into their increasingly busy schedule — while sitting on a train, half-watching a TV show, or during a quick break from work. Consumers are always on.
Mobile is, of course, the juggernaut that has created this change. A study by comScore indicates that 174 million U.S. consumers (72 percent) now own smartphones and 93 million (38 percent) now own tablets. The same study indicates that 66 percent of time spent with online retailers is on mobile. It is important to understand that we live today in a mobile-first world.
Moreover, consumers expect the retail experience to be familiar and consistent across every digital touchpoint. If I save something on my smartphone, I expect to be able to view that product later, when I have more time, on my tablet or laptop.
Research by Econsultancy indicates that up to 40 percent of consumers start their retail journey on one device and complete it on another. Mobile has produced a situation where consumers are, in effect, much more spontaneous. They snack on online content at moments throughout the day. As a consequence, grabbing their attention and immersing them in your products right at the moment they land on your site — creating a “shoppable moment” — is absolutely vital.
This article was originally posted in Customer Think on August 24th, 2016. Read the full article here.