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29 February 2024

m-commerce heralds mobile shopping trend

By Safura Rahimi




Shopping by mobile phone must be fully interactive for the concept to flourish, Dubai’s BurJuman centre has said, after a recent study revealed that cutting edge technology was opening up a host of new revenue channels for retailers.

More and more shops are considering adding mobile commerce (m-commerce) facilities over next 12 to 24 months as they look to harness improvements in the technology to reach consumers, according to research by Gartner.

Hung LeHong, research vice-president at the firm, said that a few of the more-likely shopping activities that consumers will want to do on their mobile phones, such as finding stores and checking prices, will be provided by portals and price comparison engines.

“Focusing solely on driving m-commerce revenue will not deliver what customers are really looking for when using their mobile phones during the shopping process. Retailers developing a B2C mobile phone strategy must enable a multichannel shopping process as well as driving m-commerce revenue,” he said.

The study, which looked at more than 2,000 consumers in the United States and United Kingdom, found checking prices and finding stores are two shopping activities particularly suited to consumers on the go. These were in the top three activities to be done on a mobile phone.

Sabina Khandwani, Head of PR and Marketing at BurJuman, said the ability of consumers to interact with retailers would be key to the success of m-commerce in Dubai. “If I have to use a very handy piece of equipment that is with me all the time, you need to have more interactivity with it to make workable, meaningful and relevant.
There has to be connectivity to the process, whether it’s the person announcing the offer or how the consumer is targeted. If I have a golfing promotion, I don’t want to alert cricket lovers.

“Dubai is very different to the US and UK markets. Here it is a very touch and feel scenario. Generally, mall flows are social hubs as well, people enjoy the activity of meeting.

“Messaging is one form of information but being one-on-one with the store and its products is obviously the key point of interaction and people are used to that,” said Khandwani.

She added that if BurJuman was to install the technology for m-commerce in future it would be tailored to middle to high end retailers. BurJuman has the largest concentration of high-end stores under one roof in the world.

Khandwani said the Dubai Shopping Festival provides the centre with a 20 to 25 per cent uplift in traffic. But almost 35 per cent of high end consumers do not take advantage of vouchers and coupons associated with DSF.

Gartner’s research, found that consumers are more likely to shop rather than to buy from a mobile phone.

In the US, consumers were twice as likely to check for prices of items as to buy items from their mobile phone (24 per cent were likely to check price, and 12 per cent were likely to buy on a mobile phone).
UK consumers posted similar responses (18 percent check price and 11 percent buy).

Key findings

- Consumers are more likely to shop rather than to buy from a mobile phone.

- Checking item prices and finding stores are two shopping activities particularly suited to consumers on the go.

- Openness to receiving promotions on a mobile phone ranked third in the US and fourth in the UK.

- The younger the consumer, the more likely he or she is to use the mobile phone to conduct retail activities.

- UK consumers were slightly more conservative in stating their likelihood to use the mobile phone to shop, but the relative ranking of the preferred activities was very similar to US consumers.