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Mobile commerce: the future, right now

By Luke Sartian, CEO and Founder of upUgo

Over the past ten years, e-commerce has changed the way consumers browse, behave, and purchase goods. It has revolutionised multiple industries, notably fashion and groceries, to the point where highstreets are closing down and in-store businesses are bankrupt.

It’s clear that customers have changed from the customers of ten years ago, but why are they so different? And where are they heading?

Mobile commerce is the future

Customers have switched online, as has much else of the world. Of course Covid-19 has been a catalyst, but even before then, customers have preferred to shop online due to improved levels of convenience, price, variety, and importantly value.

The reality is that consumers remain the same as they always have; they will purchase whatever is the best value, in a way that’s easiest and most enjoyable to them. Ten years ago, the best value goods were in shop windows with sales assistants ready to cater to your needs. Today, shopping online, through e-commerce and mobile commerce, is the easiest way to buy high value goods at a good rate.

The future will be personal. A lot of people associate personalisation, particularly personalised ads, with a sense of invasion and fear, however it usually means a better user experience. Instead of being hit with irrelevant ads that don’t seem to fit your needs, interests or style, the sponsored content you’re exposed to will feel exciting and appealing. For e-commerce, this means online shopping is easy. The computer is often one step ahead of the customer and you’re never more than a few clicks away from just what you’re looking for.

The future will also almost entirely be mobile based, of course this mostly applies to B2C transactions, but everything will be designed for mobile first with social media taking pride of place for consumer advertising. Mobile commerce is of course, not new. It’s already here, with mobile apps such as Instagram capitalising early with in-app shop features that seamlessly transition pleasure into purchase.

So where does that leave traditional e-commerce?

Search engines aren’t going anywhere. Customers will still use search engines to find the products they are after, meaning search engines will still be a key pillar of both e-commerce and mobile commerce. The difference will be in what is the default way to shop.

Luke Sartian
Luke Sartian

The majority of queries will be voice commands from mobile devices and voice assistant devices. This means that users won’t be scrolling through multiple ads before they hit organic results, they will be offered maximum one sponsored ad before organic results, so PPC competition will soar and bid prices will go up. The queries and terms you search will also be reflected in your tailored advertising and the sponsored posts you see on Facebook and Instagram.

Influencing your decision

It’s no surprise that influencer marketing will be even more important in the future of m-commerce. As of 1st May 2020, the influencer marketing industry was set to grow to approximately $9.7B in 2020, making it one of the most powerful marketing tools at our disposal. The industry is growing at an exponential rate and part of the reason is that users enjoy the content.

Influencers gain their followings from creating engaging content that inspires, entertains, or educates users causing them to follow their account. This makes influencer marketing one of the only marketing channels that is grown through an ‘opt-in’ method, consequently making it one of the most powerful mobile commerce methods.

Image recognition

Not only will we see more influencer marketing, likely not realising that it’s sponsored, but the industry will also change the way it works. Influencer content and posts will be syndicated through brand partners’ ad campaigns and may reach customers as a boosted post, allowing a variety of targeting methods to come into play and hit the customer just at the right moment, straight after a conversation about that particular brand in their living room, in front of the Amazon Alexa.

It’s clear as day that image recognition will play a major part in the future of mobile commerce too. Tech now has the capability to ‘read’ an image and dissect what products are in the photo, feeding that information back to Google and Facebook and informing their advertising.

If a user uploads a photo of themselves wearing a branded hoodie, they should expect to see something similar on their feed within minutes. This is the cutting edge present, and future of mobile commerce.