When it comes to the way that we buy items today, it’s so easy to just get lost in the moment. We used to have so few options that we made do. In a few short decades, though, we’ve created a world whereby high street retail – our once only option for making purchases – is dying out. The internet allows us to buy from online competitors and third party retailers who do all of their business online. Indeed, the advent of the smartphone changed everything as well. Now, we don’t even need to go on the PC to make our purchases: we can do it from the comfort of bed. When going into town to go to the high street costs you in money and in travel time, and you have less opportunity to find deals and savings, it’s really hard to convince someone to go out there onto the street these days.
Add in the fact that mobile e-commerce sales alone total $155m in a single hour, and it’s so easy to see why this has become one of the biggest forms of commerce around. Is mobile commerce going to take over the high street, though?
The death of the high street
Take a look around your local high street, and think back to your earliest memories of these stores. In the 1980s and 1990s, they were thriving, bustling locations. People moving from store to store, spending their hard-earned money with reckless abandon.
Deals would see flocks of people waiting outside, scrapping with one another to get in the door and make the big purchase they were dreaming of. It was just how the high street was: busy, manic and utterly, utterly wild. However, over time, the high street was replaced in the convenience stakes.
In the past, the high street stores had you in their grip. If you didn’t want to pay the price they charged, you had three options. You could go to another store and make the purchase there, hoping it was cheaper and in stock. You could travel to another town and see if they have a better competing offer at the cost of your own time and money for travelling. Or, you could simply go without.
With the internet, though, you need only type in the name of the product into your smartphone. Then, sit back, wait for the results to load up in a matter of seconds, and scroll through all of the choices that now appear.
This means that the high street’ leading power – control over choice – is gone. On the internet, too, the scale of competition is so comparatively vast that you will find there is always a cheaper option. From a third party independent retailer to the very same high street store selling the product cheaper online, finding a good deal with the internet is so much easier. And it shows no signs of slowing down. High street shop closures, even during the rammed festive period, show no signs of slowing down.
Mobile commerce looks set to be the market leader
Indeed ever since the iPhone first came to the market in the mid-00s, it has transformed how we do everything in our lives. In fact, it’s believed that we spend more time staring at our smartphone screens than we could ever window shop. This is why we all find it so easy to shop online: it has nothing like the same physical impact.
Imagine knowing that you could bargain hunt without having to go into the cold and the crowds. Imagine that you could have all of your Christmas shopping sent directly to your home for a fraction of the price that you would pay for travel into town. Mobile commerce might not be as big as the high street yet, but it shows a ravenous appetite for eating into the industry as a whole.
People are less likely to head into town to make a purchase now. If you don’t need to go shopping and put up with all the pressure, why would you?
This is why it’s more likely that, if you go into town, you will be going in for something to eat. Consumers use their smartphones to shop at rates we could never have imagined. It’s changed the way that we buy goods all the time, and it means that we will see an increasing move towards this change. What, though, might be the one shining light for the high street?
Online searching, in-store buying
However, research has shown that many people still do like to hold the product in their hands before hitting ‘Buy Now’. This means that many people will actually do a lot of their mobile shopping purely for research purposes. Looking to see what is in stock, reading over reviews and doing a bit of analysis on the price comparison has become increasingly popular.
While many people will still put the purchase through using a desktop PC or in-store, they do their learning online. This means that the need to go window shopping is no longer quite so prevalent. If you do go into the city for a bit of shopping, the smart money says that you more or less know what you are going in for. That is very useful and will go some way to making sure that you can get into the store, pick up what you want and then move on. Instead of buying items that you do not want or need as you don’t want to go shopping in the city again anytime soon, you can do all of your picking out on your mobile.
So, while the high street is definitely in a precarious place, this happy medium might just keep it alive. People are much more likely to go into the store to buy an item if they have already looked it up online and learned all that they can about it. Before long, though, expect that $155m-per-hour figure to rise upwards.
Signal Boosters have created the below infographic titled “The Future Of Mobile Commerce” which highlights the huge growth that mobile commerce has seen in recent times.