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Will Smartphones Become The Shopping Centre Of The Future?

Since the rise of smartphones, social media platforms, and technologies such as augmented reality, consumers’ comfort levels with technology are on the rise.

For retail experiences especially, today’s consumers browse their mobile devices or walk into a retail store and expect their experience to be enhanced by technology in some way — whether it be facial recognition, personalised ads, product recommendations, or more.

Visual search capabilities are one of the most dynamic technological breakthroughs impacting retail today, as they allow visuals to connect consumers with products, thereby eliminating the need for keyword searches — a huge challenge that consumers face today.

In fact, almost half of consumers are most excited about visual search in their shopping journeys. And while visual search technology has had one of its most profound impacts on e-commerce experiences, we’re also seeing more use of the technology in-store, thereby bringing enhanced convenience and interchangeable shopping experiences to consumers.

Mobile devices are the driving force that has bridged the gap between online and offline experiences — and have in a way become personal shopping assistants. Because consumers are inspired at any time, whether they’re browsing content online or influenced by an outfit someone is wearing, it has become essential for them to use their device on hand to seamlessly find what they’re looking for.

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Brands also reap the benefits of this as when their products are more discoverable and have increased ‘findability,’ they’re seeing higher conversion rates, better brand loyalty, and higher revenues.

Here’s why mobile devices are such a crucial component of the shopping experience today.

Online product discovery goes beyond a brand’s website

Product discovery can happen on a brand’s website, but also while browsing social media and on third-party e-commerce websites. Today, more consumers are inspired to make a purchase after seeing a product on Facebook than any other social channel, and 75 per cent make at least one purchase a month on social platforms.

Because consumers can be inspired anytime, anywhere while browsing content — which normally occurs on a mobile device — technologies like visual search make it easier to screenshot inspirational images and find the products within them.

Shoppable content also makes e-commerce experiences even more convenient for consumers as they can click and be directed to a site where the product is available. Long are the days when consumers relied solely on keywords to find what they’re looking for.

Retailers need to capitalise on all the visual enhancements available today in order to boost product discoverability.

Consumers are inspired anytime, anywhere

Almost half of the world has smartphones today, so it’s important for retailers to connect and engage with consumers on these devices. This is critical for shopping experiences as consumers are often physically inspired, therefore it’s a more seamless transaction if they can tap into visual search capabilities directly from their devices.

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Research has even found that 90 per cent of shoppers are more likely to purchase a product if it’s visually searchable on their smartphone. This also goes for in-store shopping as smartphones are being used more in-store to price compare, search consumer reviews, or find additional product information — simply by capturing a photo.

This means visual shopping is no longer tethered to online-only, and retailers can also benefit from it at the in-store level by empowering a wherever, whenever shopping experience.

When shoppers have the proper tools and resources needed to find products on-the-go, the chances of losing a possible sale is lower. Whether it’s online or in-store, inspiration can spark at any time and it’s important that consumers feel they’re equipped with what they need to make it a reality.

Consumers today expect their shopping experiences to be enhanced by smart, mobile technologies, especially visual search and product recognition. Therefore, brands and retailers need to ensure that they’re adopting these new trends to stay competitive. After all, what use is an amazing product if it cannot be discovered easily?


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