There was a time when the thought of shopping online seemed untrustworthy and risky. For younger generations, online shopping is second nature – the Web is the first place to go when looking for a specific item. And even for those who were suspicious about entering credit card and other personal information on shopping sites, e-commerce is a part of daily life. But in a tech world that’s always looking forward, a new trend – mobile shopping – is set to become the next shopping revolution.
As consumers grow increasingly more connected to and reliant on their smartphones, using them to check bank accounts, follow social media feeds and keep track of both personal and work email accounts, it’s not entirely surprising that shopping is on the horizon. Browsing is already widely available and popular, but for shoppers, making purchases from their phone is the next frontier. Though it’s far from ubiquitous, retailers like Zappos.com and its parent company, Amazon.com, are already seeing relatively impressive numbers.
Shoppers have transferred some of the same suspicions they originally had about online shopping to mobile shopping. Naturally, there are concerns about information security, but retailers are taking pains to make sure mobile transactions are safe. “Shopping with a mobile app can be just as secure as shopping on the Web,” says Ian Klassen, Mobile Program Manager at Zappos.com. “If you’re using an app that’s been carefully developed to protect your information, you don’t need to worry.”
If you’re ready to start using your phone to shop on the go, keep these pointers in mind.
- Seek out the retailers who are seeking shoppers. There are plenty of retailers who haven’t bothered to optimize their websites for mobile users, much less developed a specialized app. It doesn’t make sense to shop a non-optimized site, simply because of the inconveniences of having to enlarge the screen, hitting the wrong buttons or trying to type your information into tiny boxes. Look for retailers who have developed apps specifically for iPhone, iPad or Android (or all) – Zappos recently launched their Android app to complete the trifecta.
- When it comes to safety, consider a site you’d trust on the Web as a site you can trust on mobile. If you have a profile on a site that you frequently shop online, so much the better. That way, you can simply log in to your account, and since your information is likely already stored there, you won’t have to enter anything. If you don’t already have an account and need to make one on the mobile app, creating an account could actually protect you in the future. Zappos and other app providers require you to re-enter credit card and billing information when you add a new shipping address.
- Be smart about where you are when you shop. Whether you’re shopping or just checking your email, it’s always best to be cautious when using public wireless networks. If you’re shopping from a mobile-optimized website, as opposed to an app, you should also check to make sure the address reads “https” rather than “http.”
Shopping convenience has improved by leaps and bounds since the Web made it easy to compare prices and search for items across the country and the world. Now, mobile shopping apps and sites promise to give shoppers even better access to the products they want, anytime and anywhere.
- Smartphones driving online shopping (360news.co.uk)
- The Mobile Explosion – The Device Changing the Face of Retail (xemion.com)
- Lowe’s and Magic Beans Show How Mobile Can Power Commerce (revenews.com)