At the beginning of 2016, Moovweb put forth some mobile commerce trends to watch in the coming year. Among them was the prediction that consumer expectations would drive retailers to focus on mobile moments.
So far, it seems they were spot on. Let’s follow the path of a five-part Think with Google series to better understand how customers are moving, and how retailers can keep up with them.
How We Shop Today
If you have a smartphone, you experience mobile moments—what Google calls micro-moments—all the time. Rather than sitting down for lengthy, one-time research and shopping sessions, online shoppers use their phones to learn about products over time, in quick searches as questions arise during a typical day.
Along with this, consumers shop in an omnichannel environment. Unlike 10 years ago, when someone might research online and then head to the store to buy, we now research and buy on devices, check our phones in the store to read reviews and rely on mobile to tell us what products are at nearby locations.
What does this mean for retailers? While foot traffic and time on websites are declining, the value of store visits and number of online purchases are growing (see next link). Further, mobile does drive local: Shoppers are searching “near me” twice as much as in 2015.
Knowing all of this, Think with Google offers a series of discussions on mobile trends, and how retailers can be there in the omnichannel micro-moments.
Google breaks the micro-moments into three types:
The major point is that the customer does not have to be in the stores. Instead, the stores have to be where and when the shopper wants them.
How? Retailers need to know the shoppers’ intent (what they want), context (where they are, what device they use) and some background info (are they a returning customer?) to make the most of micro-moments, and go beyond targeting by simple demographics.
The Customer Journey: Three Types of Micro-Moments
Google highlights the shopping and buying process with the three micro-moments of the mobile online consumer.
The second part of the Google series talks about getting ideas and mobile shopping. In this early stage, 90 percent of smartphone users aren’t sure what brands they actually want to buy. Therefore, this is the time for retailers to raise awareness and be considered.
Google looked at the journey of one specific shopper over a month. Marcus had about 600 digital interactions (micro-moments) in the process of researching wheatgrass and juicers, as well as a gift for his girlfriend.
While only 21 percent of Marcus’ micro-moments were on mobile, those interactions needed to be inspirational, relevant and useful to be effective. One way to do this is with inspiring visual content.
In a mobile environment, good visuals mean not only a responsive site that scales to a smaller screen, but a different approach to overall design. Check out this guide to designing a better experience on mobile apps and sites.
Google highlights a couple of brands that inspire at this stage of the game. Williams-Sonoma is using helpful video content and visual shopping ad formats to inspire young cooks in their kitchens for a 70 percent increase in mobile sales. Swarovski has upped mobile sales by more than 150 percent after launching the Style Finder—a mobile assistant for creating the perfect look for any occasion.
In the third part of the series, Google emphasizes that online shoppers know what they’re doing: 59 percent of buyers online make more informed decisions than they did just a few years ago.
Mobile is a huge part of why the comparison micro-moments are more efficient. Users know to search with the word “best” and rely heavily on online reviews. That may be why both mobile searches related to “best” products and YouTube product reviews have grown by 50 percent.
Google looked at the journey of one specific shopper over a month. Kaitlyn had just under 1,000 digital interaction micro-moments when comparing her options for yoga pants, home area rugs and personal care products.
A whopping 89 percent of those micro-moments were on mobile. This is where retailers need to differentiate themselves with reviews, promotions of best sellers and local availability. Since 64 percentof women shopping for apparel on smartphones say images of clothing in context positively influence purchase decisions, be sure to show pictures of your products in use.
Google highlights brands that set themselves apart at this point. Sephora knew people were reading reviews mid-shop, so built their app to scan products for reviews and also provide shoppers’ purchase history (to find that right shade of rouge) and loyalty information. Mobile orders increased 167 percent in a year. Best Buy helps customers grasp how electronics interact with buying guides and local product availability, driving more than 1 million store visits.
The third part of Think with Google’s series reminds us that purchases are influenced by mobile, whether they happen there or not. In fact, 64 cents of each dollar spent in store is influenced by mobile.
Further, 76 percent of local searches on smartphones result in a store visit within 24 hours, and 28 percent of them end with a purchase.
If shoppers do want to buy from you within mobile, keep in mind that you are competing right until the end. The buying process is its own experience, and a poor one can cause customers to abandon you last minute and seek out a competitor.
Google looked at the journey of one specific shopper for a month. Leena had more than 1,000 digital interaction micro-moments in her practice of hunting for deals and coupons online. Her experience was pretty evenly split, with 46 percent of the time spent on mobile and 54 percent on desktop.
In one mobile instance, Leena bought a particular mascara, making her decision based on reviews and price. At this point, the retailer is expected to create a seamless checkout experience. The way to do that is by being fast, offering promotions and deals at checkout and providing multiple payment and fulfillment options.
Google highlights two brands that win these final micro-moments. Argos uses local inventory ads to surface products available at the nearest locations, and allow shoppers to reserve what they want on mobile for an easy pickup later than day. Almost half of Argos’ sales are now from online shoppers.
Fancy is a company that relies on the impulse buy, and thus a fast, smooth checkout process. It implemented Android Pay for a one-click mobile experience and doubled its conversion rate.
Engage in Micro-Moments
When people shop online, the smallest moments (and devices) can have the greatest impact. To wrap up, Think with Google lays out three steps to setting your brand up for success in mobile:
- Organize by micro-moments: Adopt a unified approach for giving shoppers what they need and expect.
- Identify your micro-moments: Consider what the micro-moments are when people shop your industry, and break them into Google’s three types. The Shopping Insights beta tool is super helpful for exploring those moments by device.
- Measure micro-moments: Look at the metrics that make a real difference to your brand with analytics and attribution.
Consumers expect a lot from their mobile shopping experiences. When retailers and advertisers learn to break that down into micro-moments, they have a far better chance of keeping pace.