Social Mobile Commerce: The Ultimate Seamless Shopping Experience

Total Retail, May 6, 2015 http://www.mytotalre ... xperience/

Social Mobile Commerce: The Ultimate Seamless Shopping Experience

As rapid technological advancement continues to drive digital assimilation within every aspect of society, the retail industry is feeling the direct effects. The future of shopping has already started, and it contains an omnichannel marketing strategy helping stores that are ready for it to keep a competitive edge.

Today, mobile social platforms house the food, clothes, looks and lifestyles people want to live and breathe. This works to the benefit of retailers because it makes for an environment conducive to a seamless experience of consumption. In essence, consumers are ready to shop when they're active on mobile social media platforms. Retailers that will sustain successful businesses are the ones that understand this omnipresent mind-set, and pioneer the routes to connect the intersection of social media and mobile commerce.

What's Working?

In short, mobile commerce through social media. Americans spend more time on social media than any other major internet activity, with 60 percent of it done from a smartphone or tablet. With so many engaged eyeballs feasting on mobile social media, retail brands are making social more shoppable. Consumers are glad because they've grown increasingly expectant of immediacy — they see it, want it, buy it NOW. This trend has encouraged retailers to connect with consumers through m-commerce to facilitate real-time interaction.

Instagram is leading the growth in m-commerce. Recently, the social network launched an option for users to shop through its "Like2Buy" platform. First, the retailer provides a link within its profile, and once that link is clicked, the user is redirected to a separate microsite that features images of items for sale. The microsite maintains Instagram's visual-oriented theme and interface while guiding a seamless process where users can shop by tapping/liking pictures to eventually purchase a product. 

What Can and Should Retailers Do?

Here are three tips on how retailers can better capitalize on the social mobile commerce trend: 

1. Embrace the ever-emerging integration of social media. The incorporation of social media into e-commerce is a major reason why and how omnichannel marketing is evolving. Overlooking it could result in a missed opportunity to reach millions of consumers who are already actively using it.

2. Use the right social context for your brand. Retailers must be strategic in social media utilization. A brand's user base, product category, offer and context are all factors to take into consideration. Not all social media sites are made the same. For instance, Nordstrom heavily engages customers on Instagram because it's in the business to sell style, which jives well with the visual appeal that the platform captures and evokes.

In the consumable goods realm, Facebook serves as an effective place to remind consumers to buy certain items. For example, Dollar Shave Club's mobile ads on the Facebook app include an actual call-to-action button within the advertisement to prompt the purchase of razors, thus allowing its social media audience to buy directly and instantly, without even having to leave Facebook. 

3. Deliver a seamless shopping experience from start to finish. Whatever platform is chosen, the most important part of participating in mobile commerce is to ensure that the customer has an unbroken experience. Preparation is crucial, especially in such a viral medium for sales. Retailers need to equip their fulfillment system to deliver a smooth process, from initial engagement to transaction to finally getting the product into a customer's hands.

Ready for the Future?

Mobile/social outlets present an overarching opportunity for cross-platform integration that will lead to a seamless consumer experience where shopping is ubiquitous. Consumers won't even consciously realize they're being sold an item because their indirect actions of liking, sharing and buying are all meshed into a natural, uninterrupted social activity. So long as retailers incorporate social media into m-commerce and use it to their advantage, the future of retail is on track to a full omnichannel takeover.