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Exploring motivations behind mobile shopping

Smart phone online shopping in woman's hand.More than 2.7 billion people, over a third of the globe, own a smartphone. Increasingly, they’re shopping with their phones, turning mobile-based commerce, or m-commerce for short, into a crucial market for the apparel industry.

Researchers with WSU’s Department of Apparel, Merchandising, Design and Textiles are exploring the motivations that fuel consumers’ desire to shop for clothing on their mobile devices.

Jing Sun head and shoulders photo
Jing Sun

Jing Sun, a student in WSU’s interdisciplinary doctoral program focusing on apparel merchandising, and Ting Chi, associate professor in AMDT, shared ideas that could help companies strengthen their m-commerce efforts in “Investigating the adoption of apparel m-commerce in the US market,” published in August in the International Journal of Clothing Science and Technology.

“Mobile commerce is growing across all consumer segments because of convenience, customer service and product choice,” Chi said. “Apparel merchandise is one of the top three products sold on m-commerce platforms—it’s easy to shop for apparel on mobile devices, and if consumers don’t like a product, they can easily return it.

Head and shoulders photo of Ting Chi
Ting Chi

M-commerce shows no sign of declining, only growth, so understanding consumer behavior is becoming ever more important for mobile retailers, he added.

Sun and Chi’s paper offers a new theoretical model of the factors influencing consumer adoption of mobile commerce.

Surveying more than 300 mobile customers, lead author Sun found that consumers’ intentions to use m-commerce is significantly affected by factors that included perceived usefulness, compatibility, past shopping experiences, and their education level.

Her research could help companies strategically use resources to introduce new customers to m-commerce.

Apparel retailers should provide features on their mobile sites to help customers easily find and purchase desired products, Sun writes. They should also focus on innovative consumers, as well as those with prior mobile or online shopping experiences. Older customers, women, and lower-income consumers could be the next important markets for apparel e-tailers, she concludes.

“This work is important, because apparel companies can use these findings to develop their mobile shopping channels and come up with effective marketing strategies,” Sun stated. “Some groups of consumers are more valuable than others in marketing efforts for m-commerce.”

Find the paper here.