The Year of Mobile Conversion is Here
It’s not an exaggeration to say that our mobile phones have become an essential appendage to our everyday lives. Apple trademarked the term “There’s an app for that” in 2010 for a reason. As consumers, if we're curious about a new store or need to access a quick service like food delivery or transportation, we turn to our phones.
It’s inevitable that the shopping journey begins on our mobile devices. Omnichannel retailers focused on this very aspect in 2016. However, what we saw in 2016 was that while mobile was a major driver of traffic to retailers’ websites, mobile wasn't necessarily a huge driver of purchases due to a lack of advanced mobile techniques such as push notifications.
In fact, according to the recently released 2017 Mobile Commerce Outlook Report by Shopgate, Mobile Shopping and WBR Research, retailers struggled to convert consumers who are strictly using their mobile devices to browse e-commerce stores. For example, although 80 percent of retailers surveyed for this report claimed their total online traffic comes through mobile devices, 53 percent indicated that less than 20 percent of their online sales are made from those mobile devices.
Additional notable findings from the report demonstrated that when it came down to considering which benefits motivate companies to adopt mobile apps, 62 percent of retailers highlighted an increase in conversion rates. This metric had a slight lead over the 56 percent of those who want to improve customer engagement and the 52 percent who want to increase customer retention.
Based on these findings, it appears retailers are in a transitional state in terms of mobile adoption.
This year, rather than just using mobile as another channel of outreach, retailers are starting to demonstrate an interest in tools that contribute to building the mobile customer relationship via apps, including push notifications (32 percent), loyalty programs (30 percent), product availability (27 percent) and personalized offers (23 percent).
Retailers have several areas of opportunity when it comes to mobile — e.g., increasing customer loyalty — that will enable conversion success. For example, according to the study, this year, retailers are looking to increase their investments in push notifications, loyalty programs, product availability and personalized offers. They would also like to increase marketing budgets on mobile initiatives, with 40 percent of retailers surveyed reporting they plan to spend anywhere from 20 percent to 80 percent of their marketing budget on mobile initiatives.
Mobile is no longer a single touchpoint in a consumer’s journey. Looking at disruptive companies that have taken center stage during the last few years, including Uber and Amazon.com, retailers have an opportunity to succeed by understanding the unique capabilities of mobile and driving consumers to take the action of purchasing items via their phones. The year of mobile conversion is here. If retailers focus on personalizing the mobile experience by using customer data, improving push notifications and enabling targeted marketing for mobile shoppers, they will not only gain the ability to convert mobile browsers into mobile customers, but to also improve customer relationships and customers’ perceptions of their brands.
Marc Biel is the CEO of Shopgate, a mobile commerce platform provider.