How fast does the reality of modern retail change? Just when the biggest merchants had done everything they could to become fluent in desktop- and mobile-based commerce, consumers flip the script on them again.
The Wall Street Journal reported that app-based “snacking,” or small, impulsive purchases made on mobile devices through the day, is largely coming to replace the increasingly antiquated practice of making a lower number of larger purchases on less portable devices. Not all retailers are finding themselves behind the eight ball, though. Amazon’s mobile app, which presents a user interface similar to its desktop version, has allowed shoppers, like Hana Pugh of Maryland, to do most of her errands from the comfort of her iPhone.
“It’s quicker to pull out my phone and click ‘buy’ than to log on to my computer,” Pugh told WSJ.
While there’s certainly time for a new paradigm to emerge and unseat mobile shopping as the new retail reality, the potential of reaching consumers wherever and whenever through their always-present smartphones has some marketers positively giddy. Always-on devices present a more comprehensive strategy for push notifications, and if consumers themselves are engaging in self-aware-yet-impulsive behaviors, nudges in the right directions from retailers they already know and like could be even more effective than previously thought.
“Mobile devices are driving demand,” Andrew Lipsman, vice president at comScore, told WSJ. “They can create an impulsive buying moment at any point in the day because they are with you all the time, right in your pocket.”
Lipsman’s prediction of shoppable moments “at any point in the day” is far from an exaggeration. With a ready-to-go app in consumers’ pockets, Alan Tisch, CEO of fashion app Spring, said that his company sees a fair amount of traffic from consumers spilling out of bars after nights of drinking.
Here’s hoping those shoppers still like their purchases in the morning.