E-Commerce Has a Mobile Problem; Here’s How to Solve it
Mobile is becoming the new standard in e-commerce. Did you know that it's already eclipsed desktop traffic? As of August 2014, Shopify reported that mobile made up for 50.3 percent of all e-commerce traffic. But not so fast. Traffic doesn't always lead to purchases, and that's one of the biggest problems facing m-commerce.
Before I get to the heart of the matter, there's an ongoing debate about the definition of mobile. Does it just include smartphones, or should tablets be involved? This is a bigger question than it seems, but for the purpose of this article, tablets and smartphones will both be included together in this discussion of "mobile," unless specific statistics differentiate them.
During the holidays, ChannelAdvisor monitored e-commerce traffic and sales and concluded that "58 percent of e-commerce shoppers are still using their computers to search for merchandise, with 42 percent electing for mobile devices." However, there's a big discrepancy when it comes to shoppers who made a purchase in these channels. Most of the online purchase power is coming from computers, as 72 percent of online sales came from computers, 16 percent from smartphones and 12 percent from tablets.
What's causing this divide? One issue that's holding mobile back is security fears. You can improve your mobile design until the cows come home, but if you aren't addressing security concerns, your sales won't reach their full potential.
In 2013, 23 percent of survey respondents told Econsultancy that they use their phones for a variety of pre-purchase behaviors, like browsing and reading marketing emails, but then they choose to purchase when they're on a computer. That's because 39 percent of shoppers are worried about how secure mobile shopping is.
That's not even half of the problem, however. When shoppers do decide to make a purchase on mobile, they don't spend as much. Smartphone shoppers, in particular, spend 18 percent less than shoppers on tablets and a whopping 88 percent less than the average order value overall. One reason for this could be the size of the screen. Viewing images on a two-inch wide screen doesn't give the most accurate representation of a product. Tablets are a little better, but computers tend to provide the best browsing and researching experience.
Mobile commerce has a ways to go in order to make it to Goldman Sachs’ projection of $626 billion in global sales in 2018. One solution that could greatly impact m-commerce conversions is mobile-only offers. Reward customers who pull out their portable devices to shop by providing free shipping. This can be highly effective if implemented strategically. When shoppers are browsing on your site, have a friendly pop-up that alerts them that they can get free shipping over a certain order value if they check out on their smartphone or tablet. Choose an amount that's significantly higher than your average mobile order value to boost it.
This year, Goldman Sachs forecasts that m-commerce will reach $298 billion. With the help of an easy-to-navigate mobile site with ample and high-quality images, you'll be on your way to improving mobile conversions. The next steps are to offer strategic mobile-only deals and to implement a pricing strategy that keeps up with the competition. These steps will help retailers of all sizes get the most out of m-commerce and stay up to speed with the rapidly changing retail industry.
Angelica Valentine is the content marketing manager at Wiser, a price intelligence engine for brands and retailers.