Emerging platforms can enable shoppers to discover and buy products away from established channels
The Mobile Commerce Playbook is a 12-week series from PSFK and Braintree exploring the key trends that are defining the future of mobile commerce. Be sure to check back often for more great articles here and on Braintree’s site, and don’t forget to download the full Mobile Commerce Playbook on our Slideshare page.
Akin to the push traditional commerce made onto the World Wide Web, digital commerce is moving beyond the pages of brand and retail sites, and onto our mobile devices. With this new territory comes the opportunity for brands and merchants to reinvent the way they do business, and capture consumer interest in new and exciting ways.
As part of this shift to mobile, new tools and services are taking digital commerce outside of traditional avenues and allowing people to quickly discover and buy products wherever they may be. Merchants are able to reach customers beyond their store or on their website, and can drive them towards a sale. This change in shopping behavior is reflected in a larger trend we are calling World Wide Window Shopping.
Internet shopping via personal computer or laptop is declining. In the past year, it dropped from 78 to 63 percent proportional to mobile, as reported in GfK’s 2014 FutureBuy global study. Smartphone and tablet use when shopping nearly doubled in that time, from 8 to 15 percent and 5 to 10 percent, respectively. Joe Beier, Executive Vice President of Shopper And Retail Strategy at GfK, says, “It is not hard to imagine a future in which, if we have a couple more years of that kind of a shift, there could be a very different looking shopping environment that is tremendously much more mobile than it has been historically.”
Yet, that future might already be here. As the following examples illustrate, platforms exist today that enable shoppers to discover and buy products away from the interfaces we’ve come to associate with digital commerce.
Considering how synonymous browsing has become with the shopping experience, online retail service Browsy has made quite a name for itself. Through the app, would-be buyers can discover and purchase items that they save to their Pinterest fashion pages. Browsy imports those pins onto their platform, which is designed to compare said images against those archived in its library, similar to a reverse image search. From there, the system matches with a retailer offering the item pictured at the lowest price.
Browsy can also create a custom board to serve as a user’s shopping cart on Pinterest, and any recognized images from the shopper’s other boards are made available on Browsy. By tying itself to Pinterest’s infrastructure, Browsy builds off the success of a more established social network.
Comment threads on Facebook and Instagram can be magnets for personal opinions and superfluous conversations. To rethink the potential value of these comment sections, San Francisco-based e-commerce startup Soldsie allows Facebook and Instagram users to complete purchases by simply commenting on items which spark their interest. Sellers upload an image or product post and anyone in their network can comment ‘sold’ to purchase the item. Better yet, each buyer only needs to sign up one time in order to activate delivery and payment information, creating a quick and painless checkout experience. While tapping into the widespread use of Facebook and Instagram, Soldsie streamlines shopping processes as all buying takes place within the app.
Perhaps the most groundbreaking of the three, Pixbi is a New York-based startup that enables individuals to view, save, share and purchase products through any image featured in select digital magazines. If users see a particular product they like and want to buy, all they have to do is tap the product on the screen, and Pixbi will recognize the product, process the details, and offer one-click check-out options to the reader.
As all three ventures show, commerce is moving away from the established structures of digital shopping. But that shouldn’t be taken as a cause for concern. As emerging tools and services disrupt how digital commerce flows—allowing shoppers to quickly discover and buy products on a broader variety of platforms—brands will be presented with new opportunities to showcase their products and enable sales. A vast frontier awaits, albeit one-less-click away.
The Mobile Commerce Playbook is a 12-week series from PSFK and Braintree exploring the key trends that can help merchants take a forward-looking approach to refining their mobile offerings. Be sure to check back often as we continue to examine the future of mobile commerce. You can download the full Mobile Commerce Playbook and check out the report on our Slideshare page. Also, don’t forget to head over to Braintree’s site for more great content!