The advent of the mobile shopper

Paul Crutchley, strategic engagement director and Claire Maslen, head of financial services at the GSMA speak to Talk Retail about how the mobile shopper will change in the future.

Black Friday has seen superb growth since it really started in 2010 in the UK, whilst being around since the 1980’s in the United States. It follows other mass events like Cyber Monday and Thanksgiving Day as premium mobile shopper opportunities. According to a Visa estimate, spending on Black Friday in the UK will be up 22% on last year. This growth in mobile shopping is forcing a change in retailer attitudes. And over this hectic holiday season, we expect to see mobile authorisation rates for online payments continue to outstrip those on desktops even further.

According to Ayden, the Dutch payment technology company, mobile authorisation rates for online payments are already higher on mobile devices than on desktops, averaging 88.1% versus 86.7% for August and September. But this is no doubt set to rise in December.

We’ve already seen Apple capitalise on the year of the mobile shopper by bringing technology to the consumer in a simple and fool proof way and now by leveraging in-app and proximity payments.

Interestingly in the UK high street readiness for proximity payments is even further along than the US. We’ve seen contactless readers creeping in over the past seven years. The US has really only seen the deployment with the introduction of EMV payments. This year Apple Pay could really impact Black Friday but in the US, as for NFC in general, when this finally becomes widespread it will absolutely speed up transactions and paired with mobile advertising, drive promotional uptake and consumer footfall. Ultimately payment and authentication through the mobile-only stand to increase.

However, this year is set to be unlike any other. Not only are there new authentication and payment methods but consumers have the added ability to browse, select, save and spend via connected devices across a number of retailers and merchants. As a result, we are anticipating a mega shift in shopper behaviour.

Customers now have the freedom to virtually walk around a store and purchase wherever they are or decide to purchase when they return home. This is a great incentive for consumers to shop where and when they want, especially when the threat of a busy high street would traditionally keep them away.

We have already seen the impact that click and collect has had over just a few short months and according to Econsultancy 95% of customers will use click and collect this Christmas. As a result, we anticipate additional retailers to launch user-friendly pick up services to accommodate this new trend of buying online and picking up in-store.

Moreover, for retailers, having back-office systems that can support the consumers purchasing desires is very important. Avoiding roadblocks including complex user sign up, or sign in will be key to enabling the shopping journey of the mobile shopper to be secure but as seamless as possible. This will only help enhance the comfort of the consumer during a purchase.

Finally, the brands and merchants that stand out this year will focus on ensuring they provide consumers with a great mobile adapted browsing experience that facilitates engagement, shopping through to purchase. They will also have a greater emphasis on context and ensure they have the technology and analytics in place to know their customer better. Presenting offers and information in the right way and at the right time and place will entice their customers to step over the line and make that purchase.

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