Advances in the technology available on mobile are changing the game for many brands. Whether they are introducing new m-commerce functionalities or improving internal communication between teams, brands with their fingers on the pulse have the ability to make big waves.
With a predicted worth of £3.2 trillion by 2017, mobile commerce is a fast growing and highly profitable sales channel for brands, taking away the stress and inconvenience of shopping and replacing it with instant mobile apps. M-commerce allows shoppers to make impulse purchase decisions, with more than 60% of 18-34 year olds impulse buying on mobile.
Despite not owning any physical stores, Very.co.uk, part of the online retail group Shop Direct, has become the UK’s fastest growing department store, with a surge in sales of more than 20% in its latest financial year helping it to become the second largest online trader behind Amazon. The brand’s move towards digital and m-commerce is illustrated by the decline in print sales, from sending out 25 million catalogues in 2005 to less than one million last year. Littlewood’s, another member of the Shop Direct group, have actually dropped their catalogue completely, becoming the web-only platform littlewoods.com.
One of the reasons why mobile is such an effective platform is the interface of the modern smartphone. American 18-34 year olds are spending as much as 90 minutes a day swiping left and right on their mobile devices and tablets, and this is partly down to the way that the swipe function makes app interaction easy, convenient, and relieves the pressures of shoppers making decisions. These snap judgements are ideal for fashion, an industry that thrives off impulse purchases and passing trends.
Very.co.uk has mastered the art of m-commerce with a simple and well-designed mobile app, driven by an increase of 51% in mobile traffic. One of the most notable functions of the app is the image recognition tool ‘Snap Style’ which allows users to search for similar items simply by taking a photo. This is a clear example of a brand making informed and innovative use of the features available through mobile apps, rather than simply replicate what a website might do on desktop or responsive view.
This ethos has been central to our own thinking when developing applications for sectors outside of retail, such as investment management. In designing these apps, we have been very conscious to take the latest innovative functionalities available to mobile and make them central to what we have created. For example, our latest app integrates a bespoke communication platform, allowing users to send messages and files from directly within the app. This offers significant advantages to our client, allowing their various stakeholders, staff and clients to stay in constant communication with an international team that would normally be difficult to coordinate and track down.
Mobile, therefore, clearly has a lot to offer brands of all shapes and sizes. Those willing to embrace the latest technologies and user interfaces available on mobile have the opportunity to cut through the noise in crowded markets and offer their customers and clients genuinely unique experiences.