In this guest post, PayPal Australia’s marketing director, Elaine Herlihy (pictured below), says mobile commerce is now part of most of our daily lives and, she argues, brands are failing to realise its importance and keep-up with what their customers expect from the experience…
While mobile commerce (mCommerce) may have begun as a convenient way for consumers to shop on-the-go, new technology and the removal of friction has developed mCommerce quickly into an entertainment experience, PayPal’s recent research has found. With two-thirds of Australian smartphone owners browsing shopping sites on their device just for fun, brands are starting to capitalise on this trend by offering mobile commerce experiences that cultivate emotional brand connections.
By creating fun online experiences that actually make customers want to engage, brands can make the most of the 44 per cent of Australians who are already turning to mCommerce as a way to unwind. Digital ‘retail therapy’ has become critical to building strong emotional connections, enabling brands to tie themselves to a sense of relaxation and joy in the minds of their customers.
With mobile shopping now a pastime that can rival our love of television and sport, brands cannot afford to allow a clunky mobile website experience to deter prospective customers. In fact, PayPal’s research reveals that of the two-thirds (67 per cent) of Australian smartphone owners who digitally window shop from their mobile, 77 per cent make impulse purchases when they do.
The leading brands in this space are those turning to emerging technology to build new or enrich existing relationships with their customers, with the aid of technologies like voice assistants (VA) and augmented reality (AR).
One brand making its mark through well-crafted use of AR is Sephora, which is using its mobile app to take the inherent need to shop instore out of the beauty industry. The ‘Sephora Virtual Assistant’ app enables customers to virtually try on makeup using their own face, participate in tutorials and then seamlessly add it to their cart.
This type of individualisation is incredibly valuable, particularly when almost nine in ten Australians (88 per cent) say that when mobile shopping they’re concerned that they won’t be able to identify the correct fit or match. Through embracing AR technology Sephora can remove these barriers to purchase while in tandem creating direct, impactful and fun relationships with its customers.
Another retailer addressing the try-before-you-buy pain-point is Ray-Ban, which uses AR to show customers how different glasses frames will look on their face – all from their mobiles. Through this feature, not only does Ray-Ban turn glasses shopping into an engaging mobile shopping experience but enhances the shareability of its products on social media platforms. In fact, our data shows that one in 10 Australians would share virtual ‘try on’ images with their friends on social media, providing added exposure and reach for retailers.
Brand love is a phrase that is thrown around often, but with smartphones making it possible to engage wherever and whenever customers choose, the relationship between customers and brand is more intimate than ever. With Australians telling us they enjoy shopping from their mobile devices so much they see it as a leisure activity, and smartphones meaning brands are now always by their customers’ side, those same brands must ensure they’re offering an mCommerce experience that makes customers glad they’re there.