Striking at the heart of commuter commerce

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It is time to get acquainted with a new addition to the ‘Big Book of Business Buzzwords’. ‘Commuter Commerce’ is a thing. It is gaining momentum as a window of opportunity for commerce, arresting consumer attention in the moment of a habitual journey. Commuter commerce is smartphone driven and enabled by connectivity on public transport. But, yet, it is not the same as one man’s experience of Russian transport.

According to a 2013 study by Geometry Global, more than half of UK commuters are now browsing products online, and comparing pricing across competitor websites, on smartphones as part of their daily routine of getting from home to office.

The survey of 2000 respondents indicated that 31 per cent of those browsing while commuting will go on to make a purchase online during the journey.

On the shopping list, in order of most popular purchase, are clothes, followed by media entertainment and take-away food or groceries.

More recent study has indicated the scope of Commuter Commerce, as it rakes in £9.3 billion annually and it is only set to get bigger.

“People in Britain spend more online per head than any other nation, and it seems our love affair with online shopping now also extends to the morning rush hour,” commented Rob Harbron, managing economist at CEBR.

“The data shows that commuter commerce is booming in the UK as savvy commuters use their time efficiently to make the purchases they just don’t have time for normally.”

4 key factors that will speed up the success of commuter commerce:

Increasing online security – “We estimate that making the mobile checkout experience faster and safer could boost spending by £30 million each week,” state Mazuma Mobile.

Increasing the availability of connectivity – Most modes of transport are tooling up for the modern commuter. As a standard consumer expectation of the transportation experience; trains; busses, boats and even the humble donkey are all being wired for internet.

Optimized user experience of mobile websites – Delivering buying experiences that adapt to customer behaviour. Guide customers on the best path to purchase, whatever their language and device, with intelligent search and navigation capabilities. Providing intuitive, consistent experiences with personalized search results and adaptive renderings.

Increasing the options for delivery or collection – There is no doubt that ‘Click and Collect is a habit on the rise. Last week John Lewis announced a new £2 charge for click and collect orders under £30 as their infrastructure costs become a victim of their own consumer choice and flexibility success.

Swipe and Collect expands, addresses the need.

Having it your way is more than a philosophy espoused by a major burger chain – it is an expectation creeping into all consumer habits and one the rail network is keen to seize upon. A trend to address the commuter commerce trend itself is parcel collection points at stations on the rail network.

Order on your smartphone in the morning and pick up your item from your collection box on the way home. Last month, the Doddle network of parcel stores, opened its 35th store in the space of 35 weeks in the UK.

The London Paddington station store is part of a rapid Doddle store roll out programme which will see 100 open by the end of 2015, and up to 250 new locations by the end of 2017.

Entrepreneur, Tim Robinson, CEO at Doddle, said; “Missing a delivery is a real pain and costs the industry up to £3/4 billion a year, a cost which is inevitably passed onto consumers.”

UK transport strikes to impact commuter commerce?

Commuter commerce is not without its risks of impact from external forces. With significant industrial action due to take hold of the transport pulse of London in the coming days, it won’t be long before values are attributed to the cost to retailers..

Either way, the case for providing a compelling customer experience and orchestrating a seamless customer journey – whether the customer is on an actual physical journey, in the office or at home – is clear.

Image: Steve Way

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