Mcommerce will drive AI uptick in retail
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Mcommerce will drive AI uptick in retail

Mcommerce – or Ecommerce driven through a Mobile device – has become a potent force in retail. The benefits are obvious: increased convenience, letting consumers do their consuming while out and about. Or, if they’re not the out and about type, from their sofa – walking to a desktop might not seem like a huge ask, but nor did getting up and changing the TV channel before the remote control arrived.

The shift towards Mcommerce, particularly through mobile phones, is likely to spur Ecommerce growth even further: it takes the convenience proposition of the trend and magnifies it, all while reducing the barrier to entry. Gone are the days when retirees couldn’t figure out Amazon: everyone’s got a smartphone now.

Researcher Euromonitor International predicts that just over a third of all online retail sales in the U.S. will be made with a mobile device this year. By 2020, it predicts that figure will have risen almost 10% to 43%. The widespread adoption of technology like mobile wallets will make payments increasingly easier on these platforms, and the gulf between in-store shopping and online shopping will become smaller and smaller.

Still, Mcommerce is a challenging proposition for some retailers. Although some people use tablets to shop online, it is smartphone proliferation that powers the trend – and smartphones have little screens. This means companies have less space to show off their wares, which could be one reason that conversion rates are low: people browse on phones, but they often give up on the transaction before a sale is made.

According to software firm Monetate, smartphone shoppers had a paltry 1.5% conversion rate in the fourth quarter of 2016. Desktop shoppers, meanwhile, had a healthy 4.3% conversion rate.

One way to close this gap is the introduction of more artificial intelligence (AI). While mobile users may struggle to find the right product on their little screens, having it suggested to them a smart algorithm makes it an entirely different experience. This could shift AI from a useful tool in retail to a necessary one.

Disclosure

Dominion includes a number of online retailers, such as Amazon, and a number of artificial intelligence companies, such as Alphabet, in its Global Trends Ecommerce Fund.


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