In 2014, when people want to go shopping, they're no longer required to show their faces at brick-and-mortar store locations. Far from it - all they need to do is reach for their smartphones, which more often than not lie just a few feet away.
Mobile commerce is ubiquitous these days, as virtually every seller under the sun is making its products available via mobile shopping app. Consumers now have the freedom to shop whenever and wherever they want, which is obviously convenient.
But there are benefits for the merchants, too. Namely, they can capitalize on the mobile shopping boom by using their apps to collect information about consumers. They can communicate with their patrons, send them special offers and discounts and maybe even close a few sales. It all begins with collecting good data.
Consumers are willing participants
The beauty of mobile commerce today is that people are willing to join in the data revolution themselves. Because shopping on devices is so fast and easy, consumers are happy to share their personal information if it means added convenience.
A recent BizReport story highlighted this principle, drawing on a study from research firm eDigitalResearch. The organization found that 45 percent of consumers are either "somewhat willing" or "very willing" to allow retailers to send personalized messages to their mobile devices. In addition, 33 percent said that such messages would likely have an effect on their buying decisions.
Derek Eccleston, commercial director at eDigitalResearch, told the news source that mobile data is clearly having a big impact.
"As retailers and brands get to grips with what it is and how it works, consumer opinion demonstrates that it could potentially revolutionize the in-store and high street shopping experience," Eccleston said. "It opens up the potential for retailers to digitally reach outside their stores."
How data enhancement factors in
It's important for companies to realize, though, that data transmitted via mobile devices is not necessarily a "be all, end all" portrait of a given consumer. When people go the mobile route, they tend to take shortcuts - filling out forms quickly and often providing incomplete information.
This is one reason that data enhancement might become a more viable strategy for retail businesses in the years ahead. As sellers look to paint a portrait of each customer, they want information that is complete and useable. This may mean they need to enrich the data they're working with.