Have Smartphone Developers Cracked the Code on Mobile Commerce?

By Kate Johnston

June 19, 2014

I have a confession to make: I hate to shop.Have Smartphone Developers Cracked the Code on Mobile Commerce?

Don’t get me wrong; I love new stuff as much as the next gal, but the actual act of shopping irks me. Call me crazy, but navigating through traffic and fighting crowds, to ultimately realize the store you’re at is out of the item or size you want, isn’t therapy. It takes years off my life to go to the mall.

Because of that, online shopping has been my saving grace. I’ve been perusing websites and adding skirts and shoes to shopping carts from the comfort of my couch for years. It’s just so easy to sit on my laptop and have a new wardrobe delivered to my door.

And, as technology evolves, I find myself with the opportunity to shop on my iPhone. Even better, right? In theory, maybe.

My experience with mobile has been cumbersome. I have to navigate on a smaller screen and type my credit card info on a small keyboard. Not to mention, browsing on mobile can be tough. If I’m going to shop there, it helps to already know what site I’m going to.  To me, the whole experience feels almost as annoying as the process of  going to a physical store.

Now, however, it seems like all of that is starting to change.

A few weeks ago, Apple introduced the capability to scan and auto enter credit card information as a part of the iOS 8 sneak preview. This takes care of my aversion to small keyboards. I’m sold.

And yesterday, Amazon announced something pretty intriguing: the Amazon Fire Phone.

You might be saying, “No big deal.” or  “What’s one more device in a sea of smartphones?”

Well, this time, it’s a mobile commerce game changer. Because it’s basically a shopping device with a phone attached to it.

The main differentiator between Fire and other smartphones is Firefly. A revolutionary recognition software, Firefly allows users to snap pictures and record audio snippets of the things around them, then buy them, immediately, from Amazon.

According to Amazon, Firefly is capable of recognizing over 100 million products, songs, TV episodes and movies. Basically, no more scouring the Internet for the right item or trekking to stores only to be disappointed. With Firefly, you’ll be able to purchase what you want, when you want it, instantly. Talk about the ultimate customer experience.

But what does this mean for retailers?

In the era of the distracted shopper, it’s a pretty big deal.  While more consumers are using mobile devices to browse, they’re leaving a lot behind.  According to our EQ1 2014, current mobile cart abandonment rate is 80%. That means the ability to save payment information and check out with the tap of a button is huge. Add to that the technology to find and select your item on the spot, by taking a picture or recording some audio, and customers won’t have excuses for abandoning their carts—or forgetting to shop at all. And even though these two technologies are currently offered on different devices, they set a precedent for future advancements.

Technology is starting to crack the code for effortless mobile commerce. And this lazy shopper couldn’t be more excited.

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