Now more than ever, it's essential for retailers to invest in their mobile capabilities, especially during the holidays. According to a recent brief on Retail Dive, consumers spent more than $50 billion on smartphones during the 2019 holiday season for the first time.
The numbers indicate that people aren't shying away from participating in retail shopping experiences from their smartphones, whether through an app or an online search. Here are four mobile trends to watch this holiday shopping season.
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Virtual Shopping Experience
Virtual reality (VR) can enhance customers' experience when shopping online by allowing them to view items in 3D through a screen before deciding to click "buy." During a holiday shopping season, when it's recommended that people quarantine, a virtual shopping experience can make those who gain seasonal cheer through walking through shops continue to feel that sense of excitement and happiness.
With the domination of technology, more companies could lean towards a VR shopping service in the years to come. While this is still a relatively new concept and one that will continue to evolve, there is no doubt that it will bring mobile-commerce to the next level and provide shoppers with a new trend to follow.
User Experience and Apps
Mobile applications are moving to the forefront of online shopping — right in line with a Google search or scrolling through products on a company's website. Available on almost every mobile device, apps usually live on the home screen, making them simple to access and convenient to use from anywhere. This feature is user-friendly for not only tech lovers but the not so savvy individuals as well. A well-designed app often incorporates elements that allow for easy downloads and a personalized user experience. While shopping, consumers can pick and choose the items they want to see and apply filters to specific items in color, material, and style.
For example, ASOS, a men's and women's clothing company, is entirely online like many others, but what they provide to their app users is what makes exploring their platform extremely unique. Like Pinterest, where you can save photos to digital vision boards, ASOS installed a similar feature into their application to heighten the personalization aspect even more. Along with filters, online shoppers can create boards and save clothing items to a personalized folder. This helps consumers save things that they could potentially purchase and customize their space according to fashion associated with a season, event, or mood.
Online Banking and Financial Management Platforms
Along with the growth of mobile-commerce, online financial services are experiencing a spike in popularity. Holiday shopping and a smart spending strategy should be closely related during this time of the year, especially with how much the economy has changed throughout 2020. Online banking is a newer concept and quite different from the traditional method of tracking the changes associated with your checking account. It involves using an app to maintain good financial health and keeping tabs on your account information by utilizing numerous features you wouldn't be able to access with an in-person banking company while shopping for your family.
Whether you're attempting to stay within a specific price point or want to gain more control over your finances before the start of the holiday season, online banking apps, budgeting tools, and online wealth advisors are reliable services available at your fingertips. These resources offer individuals the opportunity to monitor their balance while buying holiday presents, receive real-time push notifications when an account update has been made, and to avoid monthly service fees while banking on the run. For those heavily involved in mobile retail behavior, handling financial transactions on the same device helps shoppers know precisely what they can spend at any moment.
Social Media Marketplace
Within the last few years, social media has surged in popularity and not only as an outlet for keeping up with the latest trends, news, and others' lives. More recently, apps like Instagram and Facebook have altered their platforms in a way that is giving companies within the e-commerce industry a space to advertise, as well as sell products and make money — using platform features known as "shops" or "marketplaces." Big brands are using social media to reach a massive audience. Through creative captions, photography, and hiring brand ambassadors to persuade individuals to buy a product or service, this channel is a hub for B2C interactions.
One example is the Instagram shop feature, which includes several tabs, like "browse shops," "editors' picks," and "buy on Instagram." By clicking on these, you're entering another window that shows not only specific brands' social profiles but the products you can buy from their lines as well. Just like an online shopper could on a company's website, Instagram allows users to view products, add them to a shopping cart, and even check out all within the app. Instagram is also "smart," meaning that when you click on a profile or add something to your cart, that behavior is recorded for advertising purposes. Next time you scroll through your feed, you'll most likely see a pop up for something you recently bought or looked at within the app.
Mobile Isn't Going Anywhere
With the holiday season inching closer, a large number of consumers will choose to shop online this year, and a high percentage of those will not only use their tablets or laptops. Smartphone shopping behavior isn't going anywhere, as more corporations are looking into mobile behavior to plan and execute their campaigns. Following this trend, consumers are taking advantage of a shopping experience that is both trending and seamless for making holiday buys.
Last updated on August 8th, 2023.