E-commerce sales continue to rise, but what stands out even more is the dramatic increase in sales from mobile devices, especially iPhones.
A look at Black Friday sales last year tells the m-commerce story. According to Comscore, 116 million people visited online retail sites, 90 million went there on their mobile devices, 52 million used laptops and 26 million used both.
That may suggest purchasing patterns in the context of a single, busy shopping day where bargains are the premium. Reinforcing that conclusion, the National Retail Council said 34 percent of Valentine’s shoppers this year chose to browse and buy at brick-and-mortar stores.
Notwithstanding Valentine shopping sentiment, the trend is clear – more people feel more comfortable shopping and buying online to avoid congested shopping areas, messy displays, rude clerks and long checkout lines. There is less hassle looking at what you want on your phone, tossing into a virtual cart and purchasing it with a click.
Using thumbs instead of feet to shop has some significant consequences. Retailers need to ensure they have e-commerce sites that are easy to navigate on mobile devices, including phones. Greg Sterling, writing for Marketing Land, said he finds “poor site experiences to be the rule rather than the exception."
"Though still challenging, browsing and buying on mobile sites is getting better,” Sterling says. "And the identified gap between mobile traffic and conversions argues m-commerce would (and will) eclipse the PC as mobile user experiences improve.”
Online conversion rates via laptop still dominate, Sterling suggests, because of unsatisfactory user experiences on mobile devices. Retailers need to think phones, not tablets as the emerging dominant mobile device and, where possible, employ apps to improve user experience and convenience.
Personal shopping isn’t going away, but it is headed in new directions. Don’t get left behind.