The Value of Personalization in Mobile Commerce

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Image Source: Core Digital Works

Myntra recently shut down its mobile website completely and became an app only store. Others seem to be following cautiously. With 75% of Internet access moving to the mobile phone, it is very clear that it will be the device for commerce in the coming years. There are some inherent aspects about shopping on mobile phones which will gradually become the focus of all organizations looking to engage with the mobile shopper. The biggest among these is personalization.

The mobile phone is by nature a very personal device, as against a computer. It is rarely shared and always within a few meters of the user. Every smartphone user would personalize her wallpaper, her ringtones and even her experience within apps. Through apps like Facebook and Whatsapp, users are linked to their social circles and other apps like Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr etc. act as their own personal newsfeed of all that matters. It would be paramount for shopping to be able to do the same. Not only will users need to be able to define how they shop and what they see but the detail content needs to wrap around the user. I was recently surprised to see that the Flipkart app did not allow me to turn off notifications. They might have fixed it by now but I have uninstalled the app. Measures such as these will definitely increase engagement in the short run but will fail to build a long term user of the app. Each company venturing into mobile transactions needs to pay attention to what users expect based on other apps they are using.

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India is a very diverse market with several echelons and demand patterns. In the west and to some degree even in China, the market is largely homogeneous. It is the exact opposite in India. eCommerce is now beginning to make headway into tier 2 and tier 3 cities but very little attention is being given to what these users really want to buy. Apps that look at India’s diversity as an opportunity, as against a challenge, will thrive to see huge growth in the coming years.

Given the ever reducing screen sizes and attention spans, being able to display just the cream in terms of what that particular user wants to see at that time is the key capability that will define future leaders in this space.

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