“Fashion is an emotional purchase. When you choose an article of fashion, you want to understand how it looks on you and get it into your wardrobe immediately”. This observation by Lamoda Group CEO Jere Calmes encapsulates why shopping apps are increasingly focused on delivering a real-time and personalized purchasing process. When Lamoda launched its AR try-on for shoes, in 2019, it became the first multi-brand retailer to deploy this cutting-edge technology to enhance the customer experience. Now, other major fashion companies are scrambling to catch up.
Global mobile purchases have accelerated at a rapid pace in recent years. In 2016, a total of $1 trillion of sales were made via mobile; last year sales via this medium had tripled to $3 trillion. In the last year, shopping app downloads soared as did the time spent using shopping apps, which went up by 30% amid the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting lockdowns. As traditional bricks and mortar shops enforced social-distancing measures or closed their doors entirely, hundreds of millions of people turned to their smartphones to shop for food, fashion, and entertainment. As the world recovers from the virus, this trend shows no sign of going into reverse. Digital shopping is growing five times faster than traditional in-person sales, and there is every expectation this gap will only widen. In short, consumers are hooked on the simplicity and immediacy of mobile shopping.
The Importance of Delivering a Real-time and Personalised Purchasing Process
Lamoda is clearly well ahead of the mobile commerce trend. The Russian company has been experimenting with the virtual shopping experience since long before the pandemic and its AR try-on service is now a hugely popular feature on its app. On average, Lamoda app users activate this feature twice a month. Just by pointing the camera at users’ feet, Lamoda uses augmented reality from WANNABY to allow customers to picture themselves in any of about 400 pairs of shoes and boots. Lamoda has focused on advancing this real-time mobile shopping experience to the point a consumer completes a transaction. Rather than wait for items to be sent to them, customers can opt to have their purchases delivered in a fastest possible time limit, including a same day delivery and 15-minute intervals. Most recently, Lamoda became one of the first companies in Russia to start using Instagram shopping tags, which have been found to be effective in prompting purchases by Millennial and Gen-Z consumers. Lamoda is also experimenting with video ad purchasing, which will further contribute to the immediacy of their mobile shopping offering.
Appnext has been at the forefront of facilitating the instant, device-level, personalized app experience that consumers crave by placing shopping discovery opportunities directly onto the mobile device. By utilizing real-time data, including location and behavior patterns, AI-driven ‘Timeline’ technology allows apps to deliver this individualized shopping experience directly to the home screen of a device on a contextual level and in the user’s preferred language. This technology allows app marketers to serve users the most relevant promotions and offers, which are chosen according to their preferences and delivered at the ideal moments of their daily mobile journey. This has been shown to greatly increase user engagement and leave a lasting positive impression.
Building unique OEM partnerships propelled Appnext forward from in-app to device-level discovery. The number of people interacting with apps in meaningful ways has been increased as apps are discovered intuitively. Appnext CEO Elad Natanson, has described this end-to-end solution as allowing advertisers to engage with users on a greater level and enhance their experience.
He said: “Everyday is a race to continually raise the bar and reimagine a customer’s experience as expectations are at an all-time high. With end-to-end technology-driven offering from Appnext, mobile operators, handset manufacturers and device distributors will be able to ultimately accelerate the pace to better engage with their user, improve customer experiences and build greater brand loyalty”.
“For advertisers and developers, deploying Appnext solutions allows them to interact with new, high-intent users in the personalized way customers expect. The revenue boost advertisers and developers will see is noticeable as a result of these customized app recommendations.”
Lamoda’s app strategy offers an important lesson for companies. They need to get ahead of the curve if they are to appeal to the mobile-first audience that is fast-becoming a significant group when it comes to purchasing power. It is clear that consumers want to shop with their mobile in a way that mimics the reality of a physical store: they want to try before they buy and they want to receive their purchases immediately. Marketers must make sure their mobile strategy reflects this.
Rachel O'Donoghue is a freelance writer who has contributed to numerous publications including the Daily Mail, Daily Star, Daily Mirror, BBC, and Jerusalem Post. She currently lives in Tel Aviv, Israel."