With mobile usage skyrocketing within the United States and across the globe, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the landscape as we know it is undergoing a rapid and dramatic transformation. Researchers estimate that mobile payments in Saharan Africa alone will reach $33 billion by the end of this year, while mobile commerce in the United States is expected to exceed 53 percent of all online sales, according to Forrester. Steve French, global vice president of Amdocs’ OpenMarket, recently explained that the number of mobile devices has exceeded the global human population, “with nearly 90 percent of consumers owning a mobile phone and 30 percent a tablet.” As a result of such widespread, diverse usage, the following mobile commerce trends can be expected in the near future.
1. Wearable tech has made lift-off
After a bit of market turbulence following the release of Google Glass, wearable technology seems to have officially taken off with the recent success of the innovative Apple Watch. These kinds of wearable mobile devices are presented as complements to popular mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, rather than alternatives. This means that researchers will need to develop more sophisticated ways of measuring the buying habits of mobile users, while marketers will need to create more holistic campaigns.
2. Mobile engagement is being revolutionized
Naturally, if more customers are gravitating toward mobile platforms, marketers will shift their engagement focus accordingly. The concept of engagement as we know it will change dramatically, with marketers developing methods for interacting with and helping the customer in real time. Of course, these strategies will need to be based on data collected by individual consumers, so that an effective, personalized approach can be properly tested. Heather Cox, chief client experience officer at Citibank, intends on developing a strategy modeled on Fitbit, in which the device alerts consumers to how much free cash they have on hand at the start of the day and notes spending opportunities at nearby stores to earn credit card loyalty points.
3. Mobile payments will skyrocket
We’ve already learned about how successful mobile payment systems are becoming in developing nations across the globe, but experts predict more local usage of these systems in the near future. Despite being relatively new, Apple Pay already supports cards that make up 90 percent of the credit card purchase volume in the United States, and it is accepted at 220,000 businesses. Experts predict that further growth will begin with low-value, daily purchases before we start seeing larger spending sprees.
4. Smarter cars will rule the road
Although wealthier consumers will likely take advantage of built-in smart features for their vehicles, the consumer population as a whole should see more tools to foster technology integration with their less advanced cars. Look out for features like in-vehicle Wi-Fi accessibility, downloadable information services, and windshield virtual overlays to make your car smarter in 2015.
If the future of technology sounds too good to be true, keep in mind that there is always a sobering security threat on the horizon that retailers should be wary of. In addition to all of these major changes, 2015 will also likely see many retailers taking extra steps to protect their data and help consumers build trust in these new mediums.