Sales carried out through  smartphones  or tablets  already make up 10 %  of  the 835 million e-commerce  transactions ( increased by 19% as compared to 700 million in 2014) which have already generated 64.9 billion euros in 2015 ( +14.3%), so  well beyond  forecasts (10% and 62.5 billion euros)! It is an upward trend which goes along with a literal explosion of the number of applications available, a real goldmine for the companies which launch them as well as for those which develop them.

Future is in smartphones

Online purchases have become so standardized that people no longer hesitate to use their smartphones or tablets to buy products; online transactions via mobile phones have more than doubled over one year, going up from + 40% in 2014 to + 88% in 2015). Though the computer remains the main channel to order on-line, mobile phones are gaining ground all the time and generate additional orders. Beyond the fact that mobiles are easy and convenient to use, such success can also be accounted for by the evolution of the market as the sales charts of computers and mobiles are now being reversed.

81% of e-buyers own a smartphone, especially the younger ones (95% in the 18-24 age group, 89% in the 25-34) and 57% own a tablet. 32% of the people equipped used their tablets to purchase goods in 2015 (29% in 2014) and 20% used their smartphones (17% in 2014).

The golden age of applications

Beyond and around e-commerce there are plenty more opportunities for those who know how to make the most of smartphones.  The proof of this lies in the great success in 2015 of applications dealing with car-sharing or transportation (the American company UBER, the French company Blablacar); with music streaming (the French company Deezer, the Swedish company Spotify); or with dating sites (US Tinder, French Happn or AdopteUnMec) with turnovers reaching up to several hundred million euros (about 2 billion for Uber). Given this growing success, more and more companies of all sizes, as well as international companies, want their own mobile application with services on subscription or on-line purchase. So thousands of startups have appeared offering to develop such apps for a price ranging from 5000 to 15000 euros and up to 100000 euros for the most complex apps, like those complete with an electronic payment solution.

A “mobile-to-store”pioneer: Yves Rocher

Yves Rocher owns 1700 points of sales over the world including 650 in France, and the group‘s strategy is to use mobiles to “prepare” internet-users to actually enter one of their stores. It is called “mobile-to-store”.

“Between 60 and 70% of our customers look for information on-line before coming to a store” says Christophe Coussen, digital and customer marketing manager in the major cosmetic company.

So the Yves Rocher mobile site and application, launched in 2012, systematically promote the stores through a “store-locator” and an option to search for the closest store. The customer can book appointments through the app (20% of the reservations are made through mobiles), look up their loyalty programme or get personalized advice.

BrandAlley‘s cross-channel strategy

BrandAlley is the French leader of on-line retail stores for current or previous collections, and comes second for private sales. 35% of their turnover is made through mobile terminals and they are planning to launch a new app in order to reach 50%.

This sales channel complements the internet on PCs. It is suited for private sales purchases when you need to be very reactive and catch opportunities very quickly before stocks are out. BrandAlley sales are open very early in the morning at a time when customers are away from home, commuting to work or going to school. Through the apps, customers can save valuable time and start the day by a special treat. There are also numerous cross-device purchases, with people finding an incentive on their mobile and making the purchase final on their PCs.

Ways to improve the development of sales through mobiles

Mobile phones are definitely an additional sales channel, offering real opportunities of turnover increase.  Companies already engaged in cross-channel selling should develop new, more efficient apps to offer customers an even more personalized experience so that they can find and buy the products that suit them more quickly. The whole point is to give customers a cross-device experience that is as free and smooth as possible, with both plenty of landmarks common to the different sites and apps and functions that are specific to each device.