Mobile-first goes hand in hand with CX 

by Leanne Goott. Only 12% of consumers find mobile shopping convenient. People who have a negative mobile experience are 62% less likely to purchase from a brand again. 

by Leanne Goott. The mobile device is commerce’s future pivot on which the whole customer experience (CX) will be shaped. While mobile shopping won’t ever fully replace the physical shopping experience that’s so firmly fixed in our genes, m-commerce has become the new heartbeat of our retail journey (and well before the pandemic started accelerating things).

Currently, there are about 7.1 billion mobile users globally, of which almost 6.4 billion have smartphones. It’s also estimated that m-commerce sales will reach R51.59 trillion by the end of 2021, increasing 22.3% from 2020. And according to Statista, in 2021, the m-commerce share of all e-commerce will reach 72.9% – up from 58.9% in 2017. A recent Bazaarvoice global survey found that 61% of consumers are more likely to window-shop online as opposed to visiting a store. In comparison, 54% said they found it more enjoyable.

Here’s the snag though, only 12% of consumers find mobile shopping convenient. People who have a negative mobile experience are also 62% less likely to purchase from a brand again. If the future of retail is about shifting from mobile-active to mobile-first, companies will need to address their CX game plans drastically. With the mobile device being the jumping-off point to the world of shopping, enhancing the customer experience is retail’s main future driver. That’s also why recently, there’s been a renewed urgency to make a move from product-centric to consumer-centric, or to at least find a reasonable balance between the two strategies.

Because smartphones have become such an indispensable part of our lives, the technology itself is not about to dramatically change. The introduction of hologram simulation, foldable devices with expandable screens, advanced apps, and personalisation technologies will bring a new dimension to the customer experience. Augmented reality (AR) is another key player in this experience. Few other emerging technologies can close the gap between the physical and digital – and through enhancing what we see, hear, and feel when connecting with a product or brand. The way it’s used in commerce sits at the forefront of how companies advance into the future.

Q-commerce: not simply a quick answer to queue-commerce 

The modern consumer’s retail journey is all about convenience, quality, speed, and more speed. While quick-commerce generally means consumers can expect delivery of relatively small packages within the hour, in the future, it’s going to take on a whole new dimension. Already many new companies are making speed their USP. In the next few years, more and more will join the q-commerce train, eventually turning it into a necessity instead of an extra perk.

Looking even further ahead, retail will become so technologically obsessed with service speed and efficiency, that q-commerce will be the new standard through which anything movable could be delivered in a fraction of the time it normally takes.

Retail’s future pressure point 

One of retail’s biggest future challenges is that of supply chain efficiency. Greater investment in efficient supply chain management software will become a requirement for business survival. Companies need to ask themselves: are our supply chain processes centred on customer experience metrics? How quickly can we identify and respond to the many potential supply challenges? Do we have immediate access to our demand and supply picture at any point in time? Are our product movements driven by actual demand or by forecasted demand?

Above all, can we operate our supply chain management system with a mobile device? In other words, is our mobility truly mobile? When m-commerce has fully morphed into q-commerce, innovative supply chain management will sit at the core of meeting the increasing challenges of customer-centricity. For the first time in retail history, the consumer is setting the course, and the retailer does the chasing. In the future, this won’t change, and largely thanks to that mobile wand which will become an even greater extension of how we live and how we do things. The sooner companies accept this new reality, the better prepared they’ll be for commerce’s brightly mobile future.


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Leanne Goott is marketing manager of Mobile in Africa (MIA). Her more than 12 years of experience includes digital marketing strategy and execution, integrated marketing, team and relationship management, and event management. She believes the role of marketing in an age of greater connectivity and intensifying customer expectations, has never been more important.


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