Carat insights: Mobile commerce, the bright future of commerce

2016/1/18

China is the birthplace of a truly “mobile-first” experience. A vast amount of apps and services have arisen, born on mobile and to only serve mobile—everything from payment platforms to food delivery to ride-sharing apps. Platforms like WeChat reveal what’s possible when companies take a mobile-first approach to social networks, portals and brands. That is essentially what makes China a mobile unicorn. Local companies have built their businesses leading in mobile, first.

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THE AGE OF MOBILE

Within the last decade, e-commerce as a digital trend has completely transformed the Chinese market landscape. Entering the age of the ubiquity of smartphones, the number of mobile internet users in China continually grows more quickly than internet users as a whole. E-commerce has thus increasingly shifted towards mobile channels, with mobile commerce set to account for half of China’s e-commerce expenditure this year.

By 2019, m-commerce will represent 71.5% of all online retail. In this piece, we explore how m-commerce has sped up the consumer’s journey to purchase.

CONSUMER JOURNEYS ARE BECOMING“MOBILE-FIRST”

27%of China’s population had made a purchase on mobile in 2014 Q4

85.2%of teen and adult shoppers say that mobile is their primary shopping location

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EVENINGS ARE THE PREFERRED TIME OF DAY FOR MOBILE SHOPPING

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MOBILE FUELS PURCHASE OF LOWER VALUE ‘IMPULSE’PRODUCTS

Mobile leads in the purchase of lower value products in FMCG, clothing and virtual goods. High conversion for mobile only special deals and flash sales. PC traffic still dominates for higher value products with a longer purchase consideration cycle.

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MOBILE TRENDS THAT DRIVE SALES AND AWARENESS

Information posted by friends and followed brand accounts exposes users to new, popular, or relevant products as well as special deals.

Ecommerce apps are making it easier for consumers to finalise the purchase journey.

Chinese consumers rely heavily on peer reviews of products, where more weight is placed than official information, more so than any Western country.

68% OF RETAILERS ON TMALL ARE LEVERAGING THE OFFLINE TO ONLINE JOURNEY

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SOCIAL AND SPONSORED ADVERTS DRIVE DISCOVERY TO TMALL

Discovery moments are vital in the mobile consumer journey, and they are largely fueled and driven by social. Information posted by friends and followed brand accounts expose users to new, popular, or relevant products. Special deals in the mobile sphere—such as those featured exclusively in WeChat—can spur the interest of customers. A powerful example of this is flash sales.

Platforms like WeChat are well equipped for running sales not only because of the added convenience of allowing users to buy or pre-order products without leaving their app, but also because brands can directly interact with consumers.

Brand accounts running sales design posts that are easily forwarded on Moments feeds and that seamlessly lead users into their promotion page. Momentum may be the most easily manufactured on social messaging platforms.

MULTI-SREENING HAS REDEFINED THE PURCHASE PROCESS

Chinese users are multi-screen consuming more than anywhere else in the world.

The switch between devices to complete a transaction depends on the consumers’ browsing habits, where they discovered or initially searched for a product, and their preferred form of payment.

THE BOOKING PROCESS

The switch between devices to complete a transaction depends on the consumers’ browsing habits, where they discovered or initially searched for a product, and their preferred form of payment.

For example, a user may shop on their laptop, add items to their shopping cart, and check out their purchase on their phone app. This is a relatively common practice since there are often special deals on mobile purchases.

The switch between devices to complete a transaction depends on the consumers’ browsing habits, where they discovered or initially searched for a product, and their preferred form of payment.

UNIQUE EXPERIENCES BULID TRUST AND INFLUENCE MOBILE PURCHASE

Trust is a key factor to winning and maintaining business in

m-commerce, and it is earned by giving consumers distinctive experiences.

With 2 to 3 times more choices on shelves than other countries, Chinese consumers are generally fickle and hard to lock down on brand loyalty. Thus, in order to beat the competition, brands must be creative and set themselves aside from other brands through unique user experiences.

CREATE A UNIQUE BRAND STORY

Building trust is also vital for non-high end brands, for the sake of ensuring return customers. This is built by forming a lasting relationship with the consumer.

The emerging food brand Three Squirrels focuses their mobile marketing on social care around product and customer experience. The brand is based on three squirrel characters, who communicate with consumers via their public WeChat accounts.

They maintain their brand image throughout interaction with their consumers, having invented a new lingo to fit this image and differentiate its customer service. Customers are addressed as “owners” (pet owners) and purchases are referred to as “adoptions.”

Three Squirrels have successfully utilized WeChat to build a mobile ecosystem that is a vital hub for their sales.

CONVENIENCE IS A KEY INFLUENCER

Last year, a limited edition BoConcept SMART car sold exclusively on WeChat. The deal was prominently featured in WeChat’s user account settings, where users could experience an innovative 360 degree view of the car and share it onto their Moments.

Highly interested users could leave their information and a deposit for the car right within the app.

388 cars sold in 3 minutes

670K event followers

1751 paid a 999RMB deposit

CONSIDER THE ROLE FOR SOCIAL DISCOVERY MAKE THE EXPERIENCE MEMORABLE

Take into consideration the impulsive habits of mobile shoppers, especially in instances that are connected to social discovery.

Remember that almost all of these shoppers are using multiple devices before checking out—therefore, rather than simply looking at the last touchpoint, attribute the interactions on all devices in the path to conversion. Make the experience you provide memorable!

CARAT’S FOUR KEY TAKEAWAYS

Develop and promote flash sales and mobile exclusive deals to capitalise on impulsive habits of mobile consumers;

Leverage the reach and interactive nature of connected super apps to maximise brand awareness and engagement;

Attribute the interactions on all devices in the path to user conversion;

Establish a unique social experience that strengthens trust as this process highly influences mobile purchase decision making.

 

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