With more consumers now shopping and making purchases from their mobile devices, and the explosion of mobile apps, it is no wonder there is heightened interest in combining the two to form a collective, communal experience in the shopping realm. Consumers tend to make purchases via their mobile only after reviewing information and comparing prices.
However, what has been missing from the traditional mobile commerce experience is the ability for consumers to interact with other consumers before and after purchase. Most purchases require a certain level of review, research, and price comparison and mobile purchases are no different.
What’s more, most shoppers like to compare and discuss purchases with their family and friends before making the ultimate decision. Therefore, the next logical step for mobile shopping applications will be to expand the experience to allow consumers to exchange information – social shopping.
With social mobile shopping applications, the apps are endless – from posting photos of the products they want to their Facebook or Twitter page in order to get opinions and reviews to writing reviews of the product directly on the site within a custom reviews tool. Combining these existing social networks with a company’s mobile strategy may be complex, but with ABI Research predicting a world-wide spending of $119 billion via mobile phone by 2015, mobile social shopping could provide major revenue and brand awareness opportunities.
The key to this though will ultimately like in retailers being able to ensure the same mobile shopping experience across all user interfaces and devices. For instance, a customer on an iPhone should have the ability to share a photo of their purchase with their friend using a Blackberry, or any of the other devices on the market.
It will also be critical for companies to have a strategy in place to quickly address the newest technology and mobile trends so that they can reach those consumers using the latest social networks and mobile devices on the market.
Of course, writing new codes to accommodate new devices or networks can be expensive – so, companies should seek out a way to provide universal mobile distribution across all devices and operating systems, and create a single application definition that can be easily changed in order to optimize initial investment and get the most return possible overall.
Integrating social shopping capabilities may shape the future of the mobile landscape, and companies that take advantage of this will position themselves for the huge revenue potential that exists in the mobile channel, provided the right mobile strategy is in place from the start.