When Amazon and Ebay launched they sold via the world wide web, which was created for desktop computers.
Twelve years later, when Apple launched the iPhone, revolutionising how to use mobile, they brought with them an entirely new operating software (iOS) as did Google with Android, released commercially in 2008.
Why? Because the desktop web wasn’t made for phones, and experience is everything in terms of driving adoption.
With 89% of all time on mobile spent within apps, the user journey is very different to the traditional ecommerce journey.
Balance of power
The number one reason mobile threatens to disrupt multi-brand ecommerce retailers is linked to discovery, as it changes the rules and the power dynamic shifts back to direct to consumer brands considerably.
“Brands that have grown up online, selling direct to the consumer, realise that discovery on mobile happens more from social and community”
Multi-brand ecommerce retailers nailed SEO in the desktop web model to the point where others couldn’t compete.
The maths just didn’t work if you were a brand trying to compete on buying Google AdWords in your speciality, and so you had to work by selling through the retailer’s business model.
But those young, new brands that have grown up online, selling direct to the consumer, realise that discovery on mobile happens more from social and community, and their ability to win in this market is overwhelming.
The rise of one industry or market is often the early signs of another waning.
With mobile on the rise, desktop purchasing declines – after all, it’s the same personal income, just a different means of getting the product.
“If consumers can discover brands through social media on their phone … then retailers start to add little value to that food chain”
With direct-to-consumer brands rapidly rising, it doesn’t take much to figure out who the threat of waning influence lies with.
If consumers can discover brands through social media on their phone, and purchase them just as easily using Apple Pay, then retailers start to add little value to that food chain and fall into an existential crisis of where their value really lies.
I’m sure most multi-brand retailers will disagree.
But then again, those same people claimed no one would ever shop on a mobile phone, so who would you rather hedge your bets with?