The mobile commerce market is exploding. With the rapid rise in adoption of tablets and smartphones, consumers are increasingly turning to mobile devices to complete their purchase journey. According to the recent ‘US Mobile Ecommerce Forecast’ report by Forrester, mobile commerce revenue in the US is predicted to hit $13 billion by the end of this year and rise to $31 billion by 2017 .
A lot has changed since the record breaking Black Friday sales last year, where mobile devices drove 40% of online shopping visits. For starters, the gap between mobile and desktop shopping behavior is fast closing as smartphone average order values (AOV) are getting closer to that of desktop and tablet. Besides this, there are certain unique shopping app features that have given retailers the edge at driving and harnessing the mobile commerce boom. Here are four features that can help fashion retailers optimize sales through their retail apps.
1. Image Recognition – Bridging the gap between online and offline commerce
In today’s increasingly mobile world, instant gratification is fast becoming the norm of the day. Consumers can easily scan the QR code of any item and purchase it online, right then and there. Yet even among shoppable videos, and social shopping platforms like Wanelo, consumers still face a lot of difficulty in finding items that they have seen and liked but don’t know where to search for.
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Enter ASAP54, a fashion shopping app that uses incredible image recognition technology to empower consumers with the ability to buy anything that they can take a snap of. For example, a consumer sees this perfect pair of stilettos on the street. All she has to do is take a quick snapshot of it and the app will use image recognition technology and a team of dedicated stylists to find her the exact match, or items similar to what she has photographed. On the tech side, the app further simplifies consumers’ shopping experience by letting them refine searches along the lines of price, texture and color.
2. Gamification – Delivering a game-like experience to boost user engagement
Consumers are often left wanting to refresh their wardrobe without burning a hole in their pocket. And this is exactly what Bib + Tuck, a curated second hand shopping experience, that is now called the first gaming platform in the fashion space does. It lets users trade their unwanted designer clothes for in-app virtual credits called ‘Bucks’, which can be used to purchase items from other members. If a user just wants to shop and not trade, they can simply pay for the credits.
Image Courtesy: 148apps.com
Since the app relies purely on the quality of user-generated content, the platform only accepts select brands such as Alexander Wang, Chloe, and Opening Ceremony. To top that, true vintage items are approved by a team of curators on a case-by-case basis. This helps them ensure that the items up for sale on the app are guaranteed to be of higher quality, or at least from premium brands.
3. Universal shopping cart – Providing a seamless shopping experience to customers
Mobile has rewired the way we shop. Today there are a number of social curation apps that let shoppers browse through a much larger catalog of products from a wide array of retailers and find more personally relevant items. But when it comes to purchasing, most of these apps traditionally redirect their customers to third-party brand sites, often leading to checkout abandonment.
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Lyst, a personalized fashion marketplace solved this part of the problem by launching and allowing users to browse, discover and buy from a variety of retailers seamlessly – all in one place. This simplified checkout process allows for real-time stock synchronisation, by letting the app alert the retailer to fulfill an order as soon as it is placed. When one of the items ‘Lysted’ by a user goes on sale, the user gets a notification to buy in-app where her credit card and shipping information is already stored, thanks to the genius universal shopping cart.
4. Private messaging platform – Allowing shoppers to chat and simultaneously shop
Online shopping can be quite frustrating at times. Consumers often end up opening multiple tabs, copy-pasting hyperlinks of fashion items back and forth into emails and chat windows and having long conversations with friends before they zero down on one final item.
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This is where Whisp comes in. The app has a native messaging platform that allows fashion-forward online shoppers to easily communicate and make purchase decisions. Connected via Facebook, shoppers can drag and drop images of items into private conversations with their friends, even with those who aren’t on Whisp. And as a bonus, the app combines 21 brands/retailers so that users can find everything from Urban Outfitters to Givenchy at one place.
Wide adoption of these fashion shopping apps proves that users today are more comfortable with the idea of mobile being a commerce channel. Employing features like these in your fashion shopping app will help you deliver a more efficient and engaging mobile experience for your customers.