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5 mcommerce developments that mattered in 2014

Mobile wallet solutions, including Apple Pay, Google Wallet and PayPal’s Mobile Express Checkout, and the blend of in-store and mobile activation to drive conversion are among the top mobile commerce trends from 2014.

Below is a list of the top five trends in mobile commerce deemed by third-party expert analysts.

  1. Mobile wallets
    Mobile wallet solutions that have gained and will continue to get all the attention going forward are Apple Pay, Google Wallet, PayPal Mobile Express and Visa Checkout, among others.

While Apple Pay is still fairly new to the market, it, as well as other solutions, will surely become more prominent and mainstream next year. More retailers and brands are expected to adopt these solutions, as they learn that customers are increasingly expecting these capabilities. 

“Mobile wallets continued to move over from ecommerce into mobile commerce, mimicking Amazon one-click checkout and allowing the auto fill of pertinent address info, streamlining the checkout process,” said Wilson Kerr, vice president of business development and sales at Unbound Commerce, Boston. “PayPal mobile express and Google Wallet are leading the way, and we expect most of our retail clients to adopt one or both in 2015, as a part of the mobile commerce experience they are providing.”

Retailers can stay up-to-date with the most modern mobile capabilities by opting for EMV-enabled checkout systems, initiating mobile wallet integration.

“I think those trends will continue,” said Paula Rosenblum, managing partner at Retail Systems Research, Miami. “The one that’s most interesting to me is the gradual increase in Apple Pay as a payment method.

“It will be slow and steady, as Apple Pay enabled devices become more common – the refresh cycle on the iPhone 5S is coming between May and December,” she said. “Expect more retailers to get involved as the have to swap out their signature capture pads for EMV-enabled ones anyway.” 

Apple takes back the lead over Android
Apple and Google remain top competitors in the mobile space. However, when Apple Pay was announced in September, many top retailers instantly jumped on board.

With the new iPhone 6, 6 Plus, Apple Pay and the anticipated Apple Watch next year, the innovator definitely has the attention of the general consumer base.

“Apple seems to have regained some of the ground it lost to Android last year,” Ms. Rosenblum said. “Apple has had more sales at a significantly higher average transaction volume.” 

Phones are for browsing; tablets are for purchasing
While mobile has played a significant role in the customer journey, it is still not the main channel for conversion. Customers still prefer the in-store experience and at least a bigger screen, such as a desktop or tablet.

“Phones are for browsing, and tablets are for buying,” Ms. Rosenblum said. “Mobile traffic was close to 50 percent of Internet traffic this holiday season.

“The question is, will the shift to tablet-based computing continue or will it level out?” she said. “I’m thinking it will continue but I have no data to back that up.

“It’s just a hunch.”

The advantage with tablets is the variety of screen sizes; tablets come in many sizes. With this variety, it is easier for consumers to carry them on the go, and during idle time, they can browse products.

Most importantly, it is crucial that marketers consider all channels.

Blend of in-store and mobile activation
Speaking of all channels, marketers spent the year of 2014 getting better at omnichannel experiences and blending all of them together.

By enabling multichannel support and mobile capabilities, consumers can interact with their favorite brands and retailers in ways native to their own behaviors. 

“A trend we saw was the beginning of the breakdown of the silos between in-store marketing departments and the ecommerce teams,” Mr. Kerr said. “One of our large enterprise clients Rockport Shoes successfully used in store QR code-equipped signage to drive mobile commerce interactions and conversions.”

QR codes were often seen in brands’ marketing efforts in 2015. A more evolving trend, beacons, will surely be seen more in 2015. For many brands, beacons were used in introductory and test phases with more extensive use of beacon technology expected to be seen in 2015. 

Using data to increase conversion
Marketers got smart with data in 2014 using third-party providers to see insight into their efforts and learning more about their customers.

Data can most effectively be used make the customer experience more accessible. Customers can and will be deterred from using a company’s mobile site if they are met with slow load times, the lack of mobile optimization or a different checkout process.

“One of the big trends we saw in 2014 was the redesign of mobile commerce sites using what we call ‘friction point analysis’ based on analytics,” Mr. Kerr said. “By a careful examination of analytics data, top retailers on our platform were able to eliminate friction points from the mobile experience and dramatically increase conversion rates and revenue.”

Final Take
Caitlyn Bohannon is an editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York