Mobile commerce (m-commerce) has seen an unprecedented rise in popularity over the past two years. In fact, this year it's outpacing the growth of e-commerce - more than double in some markets. This rise is only expected to continue with the m-commerce market set to triple in size in the next four years, according to Dan Martin, Commercial Product Manager for Collinson Latitude.
When you consider that the penetration of smartphones in some developed markets is reaching 60%, it's unsurprising. Smartphones are now a staple in the lives of consumers - so it is essential for e-commerce brands to put mobile at the forefront of their future strategy. And the rate of adoption of mobile technology is only increasing; in Taiwan 62% of consumers made purchases via mobile, an increase of 34% since 2012.
So if consumers are going mobile for their retail experience, associated loyalty and reward programmes should be there too.
First, mobile gives brands the opportunity to integrate loyalty programmes into the lives of members in a more seamless way than has ever been possible. Consumers already expect their loyalty points and rewards to be integrated into their mobile wallets; according to Forrester research, 57% of American smartphone users have this as an expectation.
What's more, 59% of UK connected consumers would likely take up an offer made via their smartphone if they are part of the brand's loyalty programme. Clearly, there is already a desire and willingness from programme members to utilise mobile as part of their programme experience.
It's also important to consider that developing countries, such as Brazil, are seeing exponential growth in m-commerce. These counties are bypassing traditional e-commerce platforms of laptops and desktops and going straight to mobile - so the need for a mobile-focused loyalty offering will only become more important.
Second, mobile creates an opportunity to greatly improve the user experience. With mobile as an integrated part of their loyalty offering, brands can easily create a joined-up loyalty experience for their members. The 'always-on' nature of smartphones allows consumers' far greater accessibility and control over their interaction with brands, yet another benefit to the end user. Consumers now do product research, price comparisons and access shopping lists on mobile - all important steps in the buying process.
Ultimately, having a mobile-ready platform means that members can interact with your brand anytime, anywhere - something brands should be ready to take full advantage of, with personalised real-time offers directly to the relevant demographics.
"Mobile is essential to all B2C brands now, and will only become more so in the future," concluded Martin. "Failing to adapt could risk driving consumers to mobile compatible competitors, whereas investing in a mobile compatible loyalty commerce platform will ensure that your programme is future proofed for what is a rapidly changing market."