Search for:
Grow Sales

From Mobile World Congress 2017: 6 Technology Trends That Will Influence Mobile E-Commerce

When was the last time you purchased an item from your mobile device? And no, I’m not talking about buying an app or ordering a pizza.

The luminaries at Business Insider used some of their hard-earned premium data from BI Intelligence to make a bold prediction:

Mobile e-commerce will dominate 45% of the American e-commerce market by 2020. If you’d rather let the dollars do the talking, that’s $284 billion in revenue. Mobile shopping is not to be ignored.

With the economic pendulum swinging in mobile devices’ favor, what are you doing in 2017 to refine the art of mobile selling?

Barcelona’s Mobile World Congress trade show in March 2017 showed that there are 6 mobile key technologies and trends you need to pay attention to; many are already in play, and some on the rise.


1 Location-Based Marketing

In 2016, Entrepreneur reported that 75% of marketers believed that location-based marketing was an important element to their business strategy. While location-based marketing is not a new tactic, there is still a lot of untapped potential, when done right.

The benefits of location-based marketing for businesses are clear: more opportunities to deliver personalized, relevant mobile shopping experiences and interesting ways to connect with shoppers in real-time.

  • Geo-targeting allows you to detect and determine the geolocation of a user and deliver customized content such as an ad or a push notification to that visitor based on his or her current location.
  • Geo-Fencing utilizes GPS technology and at its core is similar to Geo-targeting, with the difference being that you can define a geographic boundary or “virtual fence” in which text messages, email alerts or app notifications are triggered whenever a user’s mobile phone enters (or exits) that defined space.1-800-Flowers presents one of the more interesting uses of geo-fencing by targeting mobile phone owners with ads once they are within a certain radius of a store.
  • Beaconing: Beacons are inexpensive devices that can be placed in physical stores or locations. They transmit Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) messages to send information to smartphones within about 300 feet–as long as the phone is bluetooth-enabled. You can send targeted offers to shoppers and pull mobile-wielding pedestrians in off the street to drive in-store traffic.

Related: Transforming Retail with Bluetooth Beacons and Digital Advice


2 Mobile Retargeting

Have you ever seen an ad with an offer that you’ve viewed recently or received a notification or an email reminding you that you haven’t completed a purchase? Consider yourself remarketed.

While it can sometimes feel strange to get an advertisement from an online store you just visited, retargeting is a powerful tool that marketers will only improve on in 2017.

Google’s mobile path to purchase report revealed that consumers spend 15+ hours a week researching products on their smartphones and that mobile influences their purchase decisions. According to a report from Juniper Research, over two billion mobile phone or tablet users will have made some form of mobile commerce transaction by the end of 2017.

As you see, there is a huge audience to fight for.

Mobile Retargeting is a way to get the attention of these mobile shoppers. It comes down to two different approaches:

  • List-based retargeting works like this: upload your list of email addresses or phone numbers to your retargeting platform (such as Facebook or Twitter). It will identify the users you wish to serve retargeting ads to. This can work well if you have a large mailing list or subscription service.
  • Pixel-based retargeting is a more common. Whenever a mobile user visits your site, an unobtrusive retargeting pixel (cookie) is placed in their browser. As they continue to browse the web that cookie communicates with your retargeting platform to serve personalized ads based on the pages on your site that they have viewed.


3 Virtual and Augmented Reality on Mobile

Virtual and Augmented reality is showing up in all of its various forms to provide an immersive and guided shopping experience to mobile users everywhere. It has emerged as one of the top trends to watch.

By integrating VR / AR into the mobile shopping journey, you can provide for an immersive and unique product experience that allows consumers to engage with your brand emotionally.

  • Virtual Reality creates a digital environment that replaces reality. Users can download an app and connect their mobile devices to a headset or glasses to be able to walk through virtual representation of a store, pick up objects and explore them in 3D. Are you searching for a new car? Volvo introduced a ground-breaking new strategy: you can virtually tour a vehicle with your mobile device. The fashion industry dipped into VR this past summer too.



  • Augmented Reality, in contrast to VR, doesn’t create a new environment but superimposes a computer-generated digital layer on a user’s view of the real world. Mobile users need to download an app to virtually try out products, such as clothes or cosmetics, or see how items could look in their house. IKEA developed a scannable catalog that allows shoppers to virtually design a room on their mobile devices.


The Pokémon Go fad / craze / hype / phenomenon of 2016 is considered as a tipping point for AR. While it did create a bunch of mobile zombies who walked into a few light poles when hunting down Pikachu, it also taught commerce providers how connecting the real world with the virtual world, leveraging geolocation, and sprinkling in gamification elements can drive mobile engagement.

It provided retailers with lessons on how to create a rich, sticky digital mobile experience to drive in-store traffic.

“Retailers have become inspired by the overnight phenomenon of Pokémon Go,” says Leslie Hand, vice president at IDC Retail Insights in an interview with InternetRetailer. “They will use this inspiration to inform multi-screen digital experience and marketing programs that all start with understanding consumer location and context and culminate in personalized experiences. Utilizing AR to connect the dots between what the customer wants and what is presented to the consumer to improve relevancy just makes sense.”

While VR and AR technologies are being labeled as the next big thing since smartphones, there are still some barriers to overcome: consumers need special hardware and have to download an app to get this enhanced experience. Furthermore, marketers do need to be aware of development costs here: apps for VR and AR shopping experiences could cost up to $25,000 according to ThinkMobiles.


Check out Part 2



Join our community of 70,000+ marketing professionals, sales reps, business leaders, and executives.

Adam handles SEO, PPC, and copywriting for DMI Partners in Philadelphia, PA. When he isn’t building campaigns on Adwords and monitoring keyword rankings, he’s writing about the intersection of music and history at