Trendspotting: The rise of e-commerce sales on mobile

With 91% consumers using apps and websites during their purchase journey, brands can benefit by making the journey easier and enjoyable

e4m by Ankur Singh
Updated: Dec 2, 2014 8:06 AM
Trendspotting: The rise of e-commerce sales on mobile

With e-commerce crossing growth levels beyond any previous estimates, mobile ecommerce is growing even faster. Shopping habits of mobile shoppers are different from shoppers using laptops or desktops. Smartphones, in particular, are playing an increasingly important role in the consumer purchase journey - including when people are inside a physical retail store. Consumers are using various devices to conduct retail shopping research, and are often crossing from one device to another to make purchases.

The buyer journey

Across many categories, smartphone conversions are significantly lower than tablets and desktops. According to a Vserv report, mobile sites and apps are driving e-commerce. 91 per cent consumers use apps and websites during their purchase journey. Smartphones are being used throughout the purchase journey, with 42 per cent consumers using them at the very beginning for shopping inspirations and ideas. 24 per cent consumers use smartphones to evaluate the product while shopping, 10 per cent use smartphones at the end of shopping, and 10 per cent access smartphones to write reviews. 7 per cent use smartphones from the start to finish of the purchase journey.

Chadwick Martin Bailey (CMB), in an earlier survey, showed similar results in a global research. It surveyed 2,000 consumers to find out what influenced them during their search for a tablet to purchase, they found that while much of the purchase journey was carried out on a mobile device, just 8 per cent went on to complete their purchase via mobile.

The study found that a quarter of tablet purchasers use a mobile device while in-store to compare prices, check online reviews, text a friend for advice or pay with a mobile wallet. However, while in-store, the same number is just as likely to chat with a sales associate.

Tailored shopping experience

While the mobile web is used extensively throughout the purchase journey, apps are used infrequently with just 13 per cent using them at all during their path to purchase.

The most influential resource for tablet purchasers are consumer reviews - more so than reviews from experts. However, social media is not used much and just 12 per cent of tablet purchasers consult this medium in their purchase journey.

“To capture this audience, brands need to make sure their website is responsive to the common interaction patterns of tablet users, and ensure that the customer journey from discovery to purchase is both easy and enjoyable,” said Narayan Murthy, Vice President - Global Sales & Strategy at Vserv.

“This means providing a great shopping experience on a device that is tailored to the unique context of a large touchscreen. After all, users swipe, prod, rotate and hold their tablets like a book while lounging, walking, chatting and watching TV. These actions don’t automatically translate from a desktop environment,” he added.

Brand focus

According to Murthy, smartphone processing power is usually weaker than tablets and desktops. Slower load times can reduce smartphone conversions. When building the smartphone ecommerce experience, brands need to focus on the most important information; make the buying process as streamlined as possible.

“The brand doesn’t care where the purchase happens as long as it is happening. Consumers’ browsing habits are evolving, but that doesn’t make a brand’s digital marketing strategy. It means that the brand has to adapt and find ways to leverage the resources it is already creating on the channels the audience uses most. The key is to make a seamless purchase path for social users on smartphones as well as one for traditional desktop browsers to maximize opportunities on the table,” he added.

With such research numbers, brands need to prioritize mobile projects that will maximize revenue and continue to deliver massive mobile growth. It is common knowledge that mobile traffic will continue to increase at break-neck pace over the next few years. This is a massive opportunity for e-commerce businesses, and it seems that brands that will adapt well to technology with lead industry trends.

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