Understanding the generational divide may the best resource businesses have at their disposal. Considering the extent to which U.S. consumers have invested themselves in the digital revolution, marketers who ignore the role of e-commerce pertaining to their company's bottom line are ignoring a crucial puzzle piece in the overall picture of how people make purchases. More importantly, tablets and smartphones have not quite saturated the market, but the rate at which people are using their mobile devices in place of traditional Web-enabled technology is staggering.
Citing comScore data, Marketing Charts indicated mobile commerce comprised 10 percent of all e-commerce for the first half of 2013, driving sales of well over $10 billion. For some perspective, that's a 28 percent increase over the same time last year. Enterprises that have incorporated e-commerce into their business model have a growing obligation to understand how consumers are using their devices in order to better evangelize their brand, products and services. Here are a couple of ways businesses can build off trends in mobile technology:
- Give consumers the chance to show their the family and friends what purchases they've made through social media. This gives shoppers the chance to become a mouthpiece for the company. Apps are widely popular on mobile devices, giving companies and consumers a convenient way to combine social and e-commerce.
- Augmented reality ads are an innovation in the world of e-commerce. Using their smartphones or tablets, consumers can scan digital codes placed in specific areas to view a virtual store that could be located in a crowded, downtown plaza and get access to exclusive sales or products. Afterward, shoppers are directed online to complete their purchases.
The Power of M-commerce While mobile devices continue to proliferate, they are not used equally regarding e-commerce. In fact, smartphones have a slight leg up on tablets. Mobile commerce transactions on smartphones represent 6 percent of all e-commerce, while tablet devices make up about 3.5 percent of purchases. However, tablet users are more likely to shell out extra dollars, according to comScore research. It's important to remember the number of tablet devices that have been purchased is fewer than half the number of smartphones currently in use by consumers, stated Market Charts, which is likely to skew the data slightly. The greatest showing of the power of mobile comes in the way users are accessing digital retailers. Nearly 30 percent of consumers approach e-commerce retail sites via mobile technology, surpassing the number of people using desktop computers to shop for items.
Social Highlighting the Generation Gap Keeping this in mind, there's no denying the power of social media in marketing information, products and services to potential consumers. Companies should take a close look at how different generations have embraced the multitude of platforms. The Pew Research Center recently released a report on the manner in which different generations utilize social networking sites like Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram. The generation gap is telling. While teens and adults are all active social media users, 94 percent of users between the ages of 13 - 18 are on Facebook, while 67 percent of their older counterparts have set up their own personal social network. Meanwhile, adults have outpaced teens in adopting Pinterest and Instagram.
In the age of data and digital technology, applying the knowledge to better target consumers is pivotal to the success of businesses. Needless to say, most consumers are probably not going to buy a house on their smartphone, but retailers that have a specific demographic in mind for their products and services have ample information to help them implement a smart strategy combining mobile commerce and social media. (Image: via freedigitalphotos.net)