What the 2017 Holiday Season Taught Us About Competing with Amazon


Black Friday 2017 was the the biggest mobile shopping day in the United States. It was the first day ever to see more than $2 billion in mobile shopping revenue.

Demandware’s Rick Kenney says that for the first time, mobile devices (46 percent) beat out computers (45 percent) for the most orders that customers placed on Thanksgiving Day. That’s up from 31% in 2016!

This massive shift toward mobile is hardly isolated to Black Friday. Consumers are increasingly using their smartphones as their primary shopping device.

Even beyond direct spend, mobile devices have an enormous influence across the entire shopping experience. When they’re at a physical store, for example, shoppers might use their smartphone right up until the moment of purchase. Customers check their phones to compare prices online, read reviews, see if the new tech gadget they want is compatible with their computer, and more.

Although the trend toward mobile shopping may be obvious, what’s less obvious is identifying the ideal mobile experience for your customers. However, one thing is certainly clear: with so much time spent on mobile, consumers don’t just want to use an app, they want to have a great, seamless experience.

The only way to compete with online retail juggernauts like Amazon, is to innovate through experimentation. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said that “our success at Amazon is a function of how many experiments we do per year, per month, per week, per day.” This long-term experimentation mindset is likely one of the reasons why the company was able to draw in an incredible 55 percent of all online transactions on Black Friday this year.

You don’t need to be Amazon to take their experiment-led mindset. One of the benefits of testing? The ability to safely think outside the box.

For example, furniture retailer IKEA is experimenting with augmented reality (AR) to allow customers to “look” before they buy. Users of the Ikea Place mobile app can search for furniture and then overlay a digital rendering of the product on a photo of their home. As the first point of contact for many shoppers, mobile devices will play a key enabling role for AR, thanks to continual improvements in their computing power and graphics.

Another mobile-enabled shopping innovation is driven by retailers such as Walmart, which recently introduced a “Scan & Go” pilot program in select stores. Using the Walmart Scan & Go app, in-store customers can scan the barcodes of products they want to purchase, pay for them with a single tap, and then show the receipt to an employee without having to stand in long checkout lines.

While the biggest retailers like Walmart are experimenting with the nature of shopping itself, you don’t have to disrupt the industry to see the benefits of experimentation with the mobile shopping experience. By bringing an experiment-driven mindset to every facet of your business, you can make incremental improvements that lead to big benefit.

From the UX, you choose to surface, to the marketing copy that drives conversion, to the steps a user takes to become a customer, every business decision can be based on data-driven insights. Mobile technologies that enable experimentation have the potential to unlock these insights and grow your business.

About Apptimize

Apptimize is an innovation engine that provides A/B testing and feature release management for native mobile, web, mobile web, hybrid mobile, OTT, and server. Industry leaders like HotelTonight, The Wall Street Journal, and Glassdoor have created amazing user experiences with Apptimize.

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