Mobile out and about in the world is going to have a profound impact on retail in 2019
Mobile out and about in the world is going to have a profound impact on retail in 2019

You could argue that 2018 was (again) the year of the mobile: it came to dominate online sales, taking more than half of ecommerce traffic and conversions, while also cementing its position as the go to tool for research, showrooming, Ghosting and more.

So what of 2019; what will it be the year of? Well, more mobile – only this time it will be mobile closing the circle of ecommerce, location, in-store and search. In short, 2019 will be the year that mobile will deliver a step-change in how people shop.

But first the elephant(s) in the room: Brexit and subdued consumer spending. The two are linked, of course, with the uncertainty about what Brexit may look like subduing consumer spending. Against this backdrop, how will retail step out in 2019?

Likely as not, innovation will be seen as the last roll of the dice: one last spending push on tech to try and shake things up. And the retailers that get it right will be the ones that succeed – and that goes for on the High Street as much as in online.

Asos has been the poster boy of retail and ecommerce for some time and it had a really bad end to 2018. But a predicted Boxing Day bounce could yet see that turned around. It also has been one of the vanguard of retailers embracing mobile tech trends that will, in 2019, be the differentiators for many players. Did it work for them? No, not yet, but it will – and it will work for all retailers that get it right.

So what are some of the key mobile trends that we shall see in 2019?

Voice and visual search

Mobile devices and smart speakers alike are inculcating a love of voice-search in consumers. This Christmas saw many more people start to use voice devices and, with tech such as Google Home on mobile and Siri working on mobile phones, that number is going to spread. Soon it will be commonplace to ask the internet to find things. Asos has already started to use voice – with interesting results.

Retailers need to be ready for this shift. It won’t happen overnight, but it will be a year-long cascade. Suddenly we will find ourselves at talking tipping-point and it will be how retailers want to shop.

There will also be a drive from consumers to use visual search: pointing their camera at things they desire and the web telling them where they can get them. According to Andy Burton, CEO at digital commerce consultancy Tryzens, “A number of retailers, including Asos, Forever 21 and Alibaba, are introducing [visual search] capability for consumers to take a picture of an item they want to generate search results for similar products on a retailer’s platform. Forever…