The shifting tides of e-commerce: Navigating the rapidly evolving e-commerce technologies
Over the past several years, the e-commerce landscape has witnessed significant shifts and trends that have transformed the way people shop and engage with businesses through mobile devices. Adjust data reflects this fundamental migration of consumer spend to mobile. Comparing April 2020 to April 2023, for example, we see that monthly revenue from in-app purchases (IAPs) globally has increased by 184%. This rise is particularly pronounced among Android apps, which have seen a 248% increase in this time compared to iOS’ 132% lift.
A retrospective look at pivotal trends in e-commerce
The exponential growth of mobile shopping apps has led to increasingly user-friendly, feature-rich, and personalized user journeys, which offer seamless browsing, secure transactions, and convenient payment options. We’ve seen a number of trends and technologies surface over this time.
2011/2014: Mobile wallets
In 2011, Android users were bestowed with the revolutionary mobile wallet (Google Pay) and in 2014, Apple followed suit with Apple Pay. Now commonplace, mobile wallets not only reduce, and in some cases eliminate, the need for physical wallets and cash, but also open up new opportunities for apps to offer frictionless payment experiences to their customers.
Rather than having to input card information into each individual app, apps offering mobile wallet payment options allow users to pay in seconds with just face ID or a fingerprint.
2016: Instagram and Facebook shopping
In 2016, Facebook launched its Marketplace feature, where users could buy and sell items locally. In the same year, Instagram began testing its Shop feature, which displayed a feed of posts which included one or more tagged products. In 2018, Shop was added to the Explore tab, and Shopping Stickers were added as a rich media option on Instagram stores. Shop was finally introduced to its place on the home page in 2020.
Although more prominent on Instagram, an inherently visual platform, Shops was also made available on Facebook. Some businesses enabled users to check out directly from within the social media app–the ultimate frictionless customer journey; others used deep links to bring users to the correct product page.
The Shop feature has since been nearly completely phased out, leaving only shoppable product tags in images which can appear in search results, as well as the ability to add a shop front link on business profile pages.
2021: Tiktok Shopping
With the introduction of TikTok's in-app shopping experience, creators and businesses could now add a shopping tab to their profiles and tag products in their organic TikTok content. This feature enables users to explore and purchase products directly within the app, creating a seamless and immersive shopping experience.
The next generation of mobile commerce
In the fast-paced world of m-commerce, trends are constantly emerging. What can mobile marketers expect to see next?
- Livestream shopping to continue taking over social commerce
Livestream shopping has gained immense popularity, particularly in the Asian market, and is making its way to the global stage. This trend combines the power of social media, video streaming, and e-commerce, allowing consumers to watch live product demonstrations, interact with hosts, and make purchases in real-time.
Livestream shopping provides a dynamic and engaging shopping experience, enabling brands to showcase their products, answer questions, and build a sense of urgency to drive sales. With the rise of influencer marketing and the increasing demand for authentic and interactive experiences, livestream is sure to revolutionize the way consumers shop through mobile devices.
- Artificial intelligence (AI) to be leveraged by marketers
Meta already hosts its ‘Advantage+ app campaigns’, which automatically delivers your app’s ad to the most relevant audience, depending on a particular event you have set or in order to achieve the best ROI. Now, Meta is taking its AI offering to the next step, and recently announced the launch of its AI Sandbox for advertisers.
This new set of AI-powered tools includes a text-generator, which produces multiple versions of copy for marketers to test, background image generation, and image outcropping for resizing across Meta’s advertising channel formats.
Other platforms are sure to follow suit with AI automation and creation tools.
- CTV shoppable ads to become non-negotiable
Many marketers are still living in the past, when Connected TV (CTV) was merely a brand awareness channel. However, since its launch it’s quickly become a powerful performance channel–one you need to be leveraging if you want to maintain a competitive advantage. As content viewers continue to shift from traditional cable TV to subscription service streaming, it’s critical to advertise where the eyes are at. While shoppable ads are presently available, the number of these ad formats and their use are likely to expand at a rapid rate in coming years.
- Playable ads to create a more interactive experience
It will be a while yet before we see immersive virtual reality ad formats released. But the good news is you can start to create an engaging, immersive experience now with playable ads. No longer is this format for gaming apps alone. And the best part? You can leverage your use of AI to brainstorm ideas for these ads. Just take a look at some examples for a hotel app from ChatGPT.
Or, perhaps you are promoting a food delivery app.
The m-commerce landscape will continue evolving at a rapid rate, driven by emerging trends and technologies. It’s important for mobile app developers and marketers to embrace these trends as quickly as possible and incorporate them into their strategies. This is how you will continue driving sales and position your app at the forefront of the m-commerce revolution. Learn about CTV ad attribution with Adjust’s market-leading CTV AdVision solution, or request a demo today.
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