Using mobile devices for online shopping

mobile phoneIf you like online shopping then you probably have your preferred device that you regularly use to make purchases online. If you are like most people than this preferred device to make purchases is still your computer at home. However, the trend of using mobile devices for online shopping is growing quickly.

Shopping on mobile devices is growing

Recently the amount of visits to retail websites via mobile devices has finally taken over desktop computer traffic. That doesn’t mean that the number of purchases is greater on mobile devices, but it does mean that people are using their mobile devices more and more to browse retailers websites and research products they want to buy. In fact, today about half of all smartphone users have used their mobile phone to make some kind of online purchase, which is a huge increase from the past. According to surveys, smartphone users who say they have never shopped online has greatly reduced in the past couple years, while the quantity of those that say they plan to purchase on their phones in the near future has increased.

Retailers cater to mobile device users

The increased use of mobile devices is changing the landscape of online shopping, and requiring retailers to adapt their technology to this new trend. Today, there are many apps and platforms that cater to the mobile device user, enhancing their experience on the retail websites they shop on from their mobile device. As these technologies continue to become more and more sophisticated and geared towards the mobile user, using your desktop computer for online shopping will become less and less common. The wave of the future is definitely m-commerce.

Why are people shopping more on mobile devices?

There are several reasons why it is becoming more and more common for people to use their mobile devices for online shopping. First of all, the convenience; while waiting in line, riding public transportation, or during your lunch break, you can pull out your mobile device and get some shopping errands out of the way. That frees up the time you have while at home for other activities such as cleaning, cooking, relaxing or spending time with family.

Another reason is that people enjoy the new click and collect trend of purchasing something online and then picking it up at a nearby store or shop location. This is a great system to use with a mobile device when you are on the go and need the item right away (and can’t wait for it to be shipped to you).

Click and collect is just one new type of shopping feature that is available to customers today. The increased use of mobile phones in the shopping arena is changing consumer behavior and how they interact with retailers in many different ways. The consumer now has more power than ever before, and uses this power to dictate where, when and how they want to shop. Mobile phone users want faster browsing, more security, more options, more convenience and more functions to improve their shopping experience online and in-store. Using online coupons or discount codes is another trend that is directly related to mobile devices. Customers can enter a store or restaurant and show a code on their phone that gets them a discount in the store at that moment. Or maybe they find out about a special sale or promotion from social media or a mass email they received that leads them physically into a store. These are just some of the ways that mobile devices are affecting in-store shopping as well (and not just online shopping). Retailers must adapt to these demands if they want to maintain their customer base through these technological and consumer behavioral changes.

One big change in consumer behavior when shopping online that has stemmed from the increased use of mobile devices is an increase in impulse purchases. Because mobile device technology is so easy to use, and retailers make it even more convenient for shoppers on these devices, very often people make impulse buys when they are shopping on their mobile devices.

Security concerns when shopping on mobile devices

Some people worry about security when shopping online on a mobile device, especially when using mobile payment applications such as Google Wallet (you store your debit or credit card information on the phone and scan the device at checkout). This is very convenient, but some consumers worry about whether or not it is actually safe.

Some people report that using a mobile payment system may actually be safer than using a plastic credit card. This is because mobile payments are generally conducted on phones with GPS which allows the payment provider to determine who you are in and the transaction is legitimate. Plus, your phone is always in your possession during payment, unlike your credit card, which you have to give over to the salesperson for the transaction (this does put at risk your credit card information as they could note down the number and illegally use it later). However, these mobile payments platforms have been hacked in the past (Google Wallet was hacked, for example) and could be hacked again, making security an issue.

How to protect yourself while shopping on your mobile device

In order to protect yourself you should, first of all and above all, have a PIN on your phone to add an extra layer of protection. You should also use an app that issues a receipt (electronically) immediately after you make the purchase so that you can check the amount of money you have spent in the moment. Another suggestion to protect yourself while shopping on a mobile device is that you should choose a method that gives you a two-factor authentication minimum (for example, a password to access the phone and then another to access the payment application). You should also check your statements on a regular basis and make sure all transactions are legitimate, and report any security or payment problems immediately if they do occur.

The world of online shopping is constantly changing and adapting to new technologies and trends, and it seems that the new trend for the future is shopping on mobile devices.