The face of shopping is indeed changing. The fact that ecommerce is taking over bricks and mortar retail stores for sales of books, music, holidays and DVD’s is of course old news – fashion sales are too following suit. Even food is regularly bought online now, with 26% of consumers having had dinner delivered to their doorsteps at the click of a button in 2012.
But there’s an even newer, and screamingly obvious buzz: mobile devices are currently in the process of changing the face of online shopping itself, with more people turning to their smartphones when deciding on what to buy while out and about.
The world now fits into the palm of our hands– modern life is accessible via a series of taps and scrolls. We can watch films, discover new music and order our Christmas presents almost anywhere.
In fact, during the weekend of Friday November 29th-Monday December 2nd, the busiest shopping weekend of the year for the Western world, which the media have aptly dubbed Black Friday and Cyber Monday, mobile sales accounted for 30% of total transactions, generating a 150% increase in mobile sales. That’s triple what it ever was before.
A study by Retail Customer Experience showed that 55% of smart phone users had a habit we call ‘show rooming’. Having still visited the bricks and mortar store to look at a product in its real dimensions, users then went online via their smartphones, either rather cheekily from the store itself, or directly after leaving in order to price compare across the internet.
So it’s official; online clicks are overtaking mortar and bricks due to the level of comparison, transparency and convenience they offer. But now that consumers are increasingly favouring internet shopping via their mobiles, it’s more important than ever that online retailers understand the importance of optimising their ecommerce platforms for mobile use.
Yes, traditional websites are still visible on these devices, but the poor navigation from the small mobile screen tends to create a bad user experience, resulting in much lower conversions.
The world of mobile shopping is relatively old news to many UK retailers. Scarborough based fashion retailer Mainline Menswear launched their mobile site all the way back in May 2012. In the following 6 months mobile traffic grew by 46% and now forms over 40% of their total online visitors. What’s amazing is that their mobile traffic now counts for 35% of their total revenue.
And all of this information is excluding the 1.8 million visits the site has so far received on iPads. Of course, Apple are leading the charge of the mobile revolution, and Apple users are leading the traffic to Mainline mobile – 80% of mobile traffic that comes to Mainline Menswear is from Apple products.
And in terms of concrete stores? Mainline have two, enabling consumers who live locally to try on garments for size and consider their purchase before logging on online – proving that concrete stores can still generate maximum revenue when partnered with a strong mobile platform.
Pair these factors with a great social media following and engagement with your target market via blogging, Twitter and Facebook, and you’re on to a winner, since 71% of internet users now interact on social media via their mobile devices. Engaging content and exciting product placement on social media of course lead to more taps to your mobile website.
More traffic means more business, which in turn leads to company growth. Before long, mobile ecommerce will be making a large impact on the economy due to the extra jobs it generates. This was definitely the case for Mainline Menswear, who grew considerably in the months following their mobile site launch in the Summer of 2012.
Kevin Lynch, Adobe’s CTO claimed recently, that mobile is an even bigger shift than the PC revolution: “This could well mean we’re facing a possible redirection of the online consumer world, one which may see mobile sites overtake their stationary counterparts.”
So what now? Well, it’s an increasingly portable world we live in – to ignore that fact would be catastrophic for businesses. All in all, don’t get left behind!