In the Age of the Customer, consumers are increasingly empowered. They decide where, when, and how they engage with organizations as they shop. European consumers are using multiple devices along their path to purchase and almost a quarter are buying online from outside their home market. This is a growth opportunity for retailers in larger eCommerce markets where online retail sales growth is slowing. These cross border buyers are a valuable target group and more likely to use mobile devices as they shop.
Yet researching and buying across multiple devices and touchpoints is not restricted to those that are happy to buy online from other countries. Across the board, consumers are using smartphones and tablets more frequently and across multiple contexts. Forrester’s updated mobile and tablet commerce forecast predicts that mobile and tablet commerce combined will account for 20% of online sales in 2014 increasing to 49% of online sales by 2018.
Mobile phones, smartphones in particular, bridge the gap between digital and physical shopping experiences. In 2015, European consumers’ increasingly multitouchpoint shopping behavior will heighten eBusiness professionals’ attention on the influence of digital across the customer journey and into stores.
Forrester believes that, for Europe, 2015 will be a year of experimentation. We predict that:
  • The true value of mobile to still elude most retailers. Retailers across Europe are already seeing up to 50% of online traffic coming from mobile devices and are optimizing their mobile presence accordingly. UK department stores House of Fraser and Selfridges have both redesigned their websites with a “mobile first” approach. 2015 will see more mature organizations across Europe beginning to consider mobile as more than just another sales channel or extension of their websites.  These firms will recognize the greater opportunity of using mobile to drive overall sales by addressing customer needs and connecting them through the purchasing cycle. UK supermarket chain Asda supports customer needs across contexts by changing the mobile app functionality displayed when a customer is in-store or not.
  • Beacon trials to steal the lime light from the full value of digital in stores. 2015 will see a flood of beacon-related trials in stores across Europe, but few will be ready to enable the real-time contextualization necessary to deliver relevant beacon engagements. For example, House of Fraser is trialing beacons embedded in mannequins that send product information of the outfit displayed to customers with a specific smartphone app. Beacons powered by the iBeacon protocol will allow customers to get peppered with information and offers as many retailers focus on pushing out information and deals rather than driving full-circle customer engagement.
In addition to the European eCommerce predictions, we are also making calls on what to expect in the US, and globally regarding ‘mobile moments,’ digital technology in-store, cross-touchpoint measurement, omni-channel fulfillment and B2B eCommerce. The Predictions 2015 page can be your guide to when those – and other – Prediction reports publish.
What are you excited about? Contact us or give us your thoughts in the comments section below.