Writing for theBusiness Insider, Das stated (2016) the three factors that defined (or rather drove) the retail sector through 2016 included (a) Mobile wallet and Payments, (b) IoT based consumer engagement, and (c) personalized customization. What the report captivated was what numerous research studies and predictions for 2017 have concurred with, namely an unprecedented rate of customizing the retail process. Uniquely, for both the online and offline retailing processes, customization was initiated by the introduction of mobile communication as a business avenue.
For offline retailers, the mobile revolution only facilitated frequent and timely customer-firm communication. In ecommerce, however, the mobile revolution has redefined what started as an online business platform into a mobile business framework, accessible globally and without time, jurisdictional, economic, or cultural borders. Nothing exemplifies this phenomenon better than how the retail process has been customized to match the challenges and opportunities of mobile ecommerce. Of interest is how unique and customized retail processes have now become mandatory for every profitable and sustainable ecommerce outlet.
Elements of a Competitive Retail Process in Mobile Ecommerce
Important to note, mobile ecommerce differs from traditional ecommerce because it relies on mobile telecommunication gadgets. Today in the US, over 70% of all ecommerce sales are placed from a laptop, a tablet, a smartphone, or a mobile phone, as compared to the traditional desktop computer. Consequently, mobile ecommerce has transformed the retail process in three specific ways; namely, personalizing communication, branding the communication process, and automating mobile-friendly transactions. Customized retailing in mobile ecommerce must facilitate these three aspects simultaneously, consistently, competitively, and sustainably. As such, mobile ecommerce needs to be tailored to address a specific client for his/her retail process with effective, reliable, profitable, and competitive solutions, do so as a branded entity, and cater to an increasingly mobile-tech market. To do this, the retail process should havefive component elements:
Competitive Brand Signature
The retail process of mobile ecommerce must first build a competitive brand signature forthe specific business. Not only has modern ecommerce been optimized for mobile devices with fluid user platforms, but it has been refined for personalized marketing campaigns in a way that captivates a brand identity like never before. Ecommerce now offers a brand the customer can identify with without mass media advertising. Further, the marketing, feedback, and reply messages between a customer and a firm are unique to each business and carry with them a brand identity. Consequently, ecommerce portals now use customized mobile apps to make their messages unique to their brand and canaddress the customers with personalized references.
Customer Relations Management
Secondly, the retail process must be competitively customized to build and sustain effective customer relations against an increasing crowd of competitors who are just a screen tap away. The core of customer relations management lies in optimizing the buyer experience (with speed, reliability, and user-friendly interactions), alongside sustainable Public Relations practices.Above the dynamic and hyperactive media content distribution channels, integrating social media and networking into the ecommerce retail process helps an ecommerce venture access customers on their mobile phones. Regardless of place, socio-cultural identity, or economic barriers, mobile ecommerce offers collaboration solutions that are designed to gain and maintain optimal direct firm-customer conversations among current and potential customers.
Sending a general message to former, current, and potential customers will most likely only register in the trash or spam folder of their inboxes. No customer is likely to pay any interest to a generalized message that seems to address ‘others’ and not ‘me.’ Recent advancements in the retail process, however, have personalized the interaction with their customers, where messages are designed to address the ‘you’ subject and not the ‘anybody’ subject. It starts atthe marketing stage where an advert will address them by their personal name inthe subject. If the customer decides to visit the ecommerce portal, their inquiries, feedback, and interactive replies will use their name as the subject of reference.The result of a brand-customized and personalized interaction is competitive and sustainable customer relations management.
Thirdly, the retail process of mobile ecommerce today needs to focus on increasing sales from both previous customers and an increasing number of new customers. Ecommerce prompts will even be integrated into games played on mobile gadgets. By providing adequate solutions to their needs, where the retail process ispersonalized, branded, and mobile-friendly, modern ecommerce gains access to increased customer categories and increases loyalty and trust from current customers. New products/services are marketed to the current customer base and then presented to the larger market, thus gaining higher traffic flows and a resultant high conversion of visitors to customers. Modern ecommerce solutions fluidly facilitate the retail process from a mobile phone, a tablet, a smartphone, or a laptop, regardless of where the customer is at any time of day or night. All the customer needs is not cash, but an account with digitized and convertible cash, irrespective of currency. Within seconds, the customer may have chosen a product or service and paid for it from a smartphone. The result is an increase in sales, progressively.
Reduced Operational Costs
The retail process has also been automated to the extent that it may require only one person or no one at all to serve double the number of customers that 20 employees in an offline store might serve. Advances in web design, as well as enterprise applications and portals, have eliminated and/or reduced the need for retail space, time, work force, and other related operational costs. Consequently, an automated retail service denotes the competitive edge of modern ecommerce. Attracting new and sustaining old customers manually for every customer would be expensive, time demanding, lengthy, and open to numerous errors. Today, with a large percentage of ecommerce customers using a mobile device, converting a visitor to a customer would be a rare miracle if the sites were not optimized for mobile ecommerce.
What most customers never know, however, is that the mobile apps they receive are programmed from the same template. The business process automationis reliable and based on real-time transactions to the extent that it allows an ecommerce portal to perform without involving even a single employee. Computer software solutions now automatically change the subject name and goods/services in question based on the information the customers provide, in real-time, and accurately. The entire interaction is shaped by business intelligenceto occur seamlessly whether the customer is using a desktop computer (which rarely occurs today), a laptop, a tablet, a smartphone, or a mobile phone. Contemporary mobile apps have been designed to automate the retail process, making it easier (automated), reliable (the absolute accuracy of content and document management), faster (in real-time), and productive (profitable).
Progressive Business Growth
Finally, the retail process of mobile ecommerce is extremely cheap to expand and update. A single database can host multipleweb and enterprise portals targeting different customer profiles, regions, communities, and social groups for the same ecommerce venture. The ability to tap into new ecommerce prospects such as social media marketing or social networking only adds to the progressive growth of a low expenditure and highly profitable ecommerce venture. Consequent to a global clientele, high profitability, reduced manpower and business costs, and an easily expandable and automated retail process, the prospects of growth are infinite.
Benefits of a Customized Retail Process in Mobile Ecommerce
The foregoing elements of the retail process in modern ecommerceare justified by the fact that over 75% of those using the internet, globally, are on a mobile device. Ecommerce optimized for mobile accesscan automatically activate numerous advantages for the business. In essence, mobile ecommerce applications are now designed to automate the retail process with several significant benefits, including:
- Reduced expenditure in terms of manpower, space, operational costs, and time demands with an automated retail process;
- Sustaining current customer base with consistent customer satisfaction owing to the personalized, branded, and real-time retail process;
- Attracting new customers to their brand from assorted social media and personalized networking portals;
- Increasing profitability by generating higher sales revenue from current and new customers, while at the same time reducing business expenditure required to generate the increased sales; and
- Prompting business growth and expansion globally with new customer segments.
In conclusion, the retail process of mobile ecommerce now captivates the objective of business and embraces the challenges and opportunities emerging with advances in mobile communication. Without question, modern ecommerce must be mobile if it is to succeed. By building a competitive brand signature, focusing sustainable customer relations management toward optimal customer satisfaction, increasing sales among the current and potential customer base, reducing operational costs, and then engineering progressive business growth, the mobile phenomenon has indeed transformed ecommerce retailing. Optimizing a site’s mobility across devices, automating the business process, and integrating social media into the retailing process have refined how modern ecommerce portals attract, convert, and sustain a growing clientele base. Indeed, the ecommerce retail process is undergoing an age of digital transformation driven by a mobile purchasing trend. The future of ecommerce is now pegged on how well a business can customize and automate their retail process for an increasingly mobile public.
This post is part of our contributor series. It is written and published independently of TNW.