Minus the impressive assortment of stylish designer iPhone cases, fashion and technology are rarely in sync. Gucci says antique print shirts are back with a boom while Google is pushing sleek, Pinterest-esque block images.

At least that was the case until smartphones made their red carpet entrance. Altering both the device and location from which users can access the internet, mobile capabilities provide a streamlined convenience for all. Fashion was particularly revolutionized because of the new opportunities that arose for retailers and shoppers alike.

Smartphones allow retailers to reach a larger volume of potential customers as well as target specific audiences and locations. Consumers can do it all online, all on a mobile device – compare prices, find coupons, hold items for later, match pieces together and of course, make purchases.

Below we examine the rise of mobile shopping and the integration of social media.

Mobile Shopping

According to eMarketer, U.S. retail mcommerce sales shot up 81% to nearly $25 billion last year. In 2013, that number is expected to increase even further – an additional 55.7%.

retail mcommerce

By the end of this year, mobile retail sales will account for 15% of all ecommerce purchases. Mcommerce includes all mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets. The amount consumers are willing to spend shopping on those devices continues to grow. Currently, tablets inspire an average of $329 per order and phones $250 per order.

The rise of mobile shopping necessitates a mobile-friendly brand site. Search Engine Journal offers a few tips when optimizing for mobile: declutter your mobile interface, maintain consistent branding, kill any flash or javascript files, eliminate pop-up windows and include a link back to your main site.

The mobile shopping experience often includes much more than just visiting a website and making a purchase, however – brand searches, price comparisons, product discovery and apps are all important aspects. Social media is especially gaining traction with the mobile retail world. We explore the integration below.

Mobile Shopping + Social Media

49% of consumers have interacted with a retailer through social media.

The emergence of these “social shoppers” was only a matter of time considering the omnipresence of social media in all walks of life. In fact, 80% of social media users say they prefer to connect with brands through Facebook as opposed to their website.

That preference leads to a need for optimized social media profiles along with websites. We have tips for a more successful social media marketing strategy here. Within retail, it’s vital to use cross-promotion in order for those social visits to convert. Fashion brands should have a presence on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Polyvore.

The Gap brand provides an excellent example of the importance of social media in mobile retail. Rachel Tipograph, Gap Director of Global Digital and Social Media, says they are seeing “60% of all social media engagements happening via smartphones.” Therefore, everything they design has mobile top-of-mind.

As both mobile and social media pick up increasing momentum within the retail industry, it’s important for retailers to get ahead in planning and optimizing for shoppers in order to impact sales.