Mobile is having a huge impact on people’s online and offline shopping habits, and that means retailers must quickly figure out how to engage consumers on smartphones and tablets.
Here’s how the Big Three have made mobile so effective:
- eBay has made it easy for mobile users to participate in auctions on-the-go. Auctions and mobile are a powerful combination since smartphone shoppers are now able to check on their bids in time-sensitive auctions from anywhere, any time of day.
- The company has also focused on search and discovery. One of the keys to eBay’s success is the thrill of finding hard-to-locate items, locally-available items, and deals. eBay has organised its app around search, product images, and personalised feeds and interests.
- eBay has also single-mindedly attacked frictions in terms of payment, leaning on its PayPal payments platform to make payments easier.
- Wal-Mart has to strived move faster on mobile than it did on PC-based e-commerce. Neil Ashe, the company’s top e-commerce executive, told Fast Company last year that Wal-Mart “is going to go away if we don’t get the Internet and mobile right.”
- Wal-Mart also has been noticeably aggressive in providing avenues for price-conscious mobile customers to find special deals. For example, Wal-Mart let mobile customers preview Black Friday offers and local ads.
- Wal-Mart’s app isn’t all about attracting online shoppers and engaging mobile users, it’s also about directing them to Wal-Mart stores, and helping them shop there.
- Amazon’s mobile experience is part-and-parcel of its celebrated focus on the customer experience. Amazon mobile is a blend of seamless 1-click payments, intuitive navigation, and data-driven recommendations.
- The loyalty program Amazon Prime also serves to reinforce e-commerce purchasing, rewarding frequent customers with free shipping and video streaming. These privileges tend to enmesh users deeper within the Amazon ecosystem and its world of e-commerce, media distribution, and hardware.
These businesses see between one-fourth to one-third of their total U.S. digital audience visit their sites and apps only on mobile. These are customers who might not have visited these retailers online otherwise.
In general, BI Intelligence finds that
the real key to their strategy is that they have each devoted significant resources to creating a mobile customer experience from the ground-up, so that it’s truly adding something rather than just being another point of contact.
In the report, we look at the size of these retailers’ mobile and mobile-only audience, and the unique ways each company has recreated itself for the mobile channel. For eBay, a streamlined auction app interface was key. For Wal-Mart, it was important to provide tools on mobile for in-store shopping.
In full, the report:
- Advances the “50-30-40 rule,” for mobile commerce properties, which starts with the idea that 50% of the audience should be accessing on mobile.
- Analyses the threat to e-commerce from “reverse showrooming,” which is when customers browse online but shop in physical stores.
- Studies the cases of eBay, Amazon, and Wal-Mart in order to see what they have done on mobile, and why.
- Looks at the use of the mobile Web vs. apps for the Big Three, and how each plays a different role depending on where the consumer is accessing.
- Discusses and compares the “mobile lift,” or the incremental mobile audience for the Big Three retailers.
Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through his personal investment company Bezos Expeditions.
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