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COVID-19 has definitely supercharged the shift from brick-and-mortar retailing to ecommerce. While the mantra of ‘mobile-first’ has been trumpeted by ecommerce experts for some time, online retailers are still struggling to keep up.
In 2016 research by Adobe found that 4 out of 5 marketers lacked a mobile commerce strategy for the next 12 months. In November 2019, a survey of 22,000 smartphone users worldwide found that 78% had used mobile devices for online shopping in the previous six months, but still only 63% of businesses had mobile-optimised websites.
“That’s a 15-percentage-point gap in businesses who are missing out by not taking advantage of the explosive growth of mobile commerce.”
Chris Morse, Senior Director of Mobile Commerce Research at PayPal
To discover how valuable the mobile market truly is, and why your business needs to be able to take full advantage of this opportunity, consider these nine points.
Almost half the world own a device that makes your online store reachable from their pocket. Data gathered by Statistia shows that the total number of smartphone owners worldwide in 2020 is projected to have reached 3.5 billion by the end of the year. This is a 40% increase from the 2.5 billion people who owned a smartphone in 2016. At this rate, smartphone ownership is likely to be the norm for more than half of the world’s population within the next four years. It will become a clear source of traffic for your online shopping channels.
The division of internet traffic by device has been shifting towards mobile for several years. Data shared by Statista shows that between 2009 and 2013, mobile internet traffic skyrocketed from less than 1% to over 16%. By 2018, mobile devices accounted for more than 52% of all internet traffic.
Not only is growing online traffic mobile, but the traffic itself has a greater impact. Data from 2016 suggests that online searches via mobile result in purchases within a single hour, rather than over a month as with desktop searches. To make maximum use of this important opportunity, it is vital that your website is mobile optimised.
While the idea of smartphones being addictive is hotly discussed, no one can deny that they have demonstrated themselves to be exceptionally useful. The constant supply of notifications, updates and new content mean that we are spending between an eighth and a sixth of our days using our smartphones.
Phones are an increasing focus of attention in so many different ways. This represents a major opportunity for online sellers of all kinds.
Desktop browsing and home broadband could be much rarer in a few short years. Research suggests that by the middle of this decade, we could expect to see nearly three-quarters of global internet users being ‘smartphone only’, with no access to a desktop computer or home broadband.
Why such a shift? Mobile infrastructure is easier to deploy in less developed nations or rural areas. However, this phenomenon also extends to developed countries too, with Pew Research suggesting that one in five Americans falling into the category of ‘smartphone only’. Often these are younger people, lacking enough financial stability for both a phone contract and home broadband. The economic issues caused by COVID-19 is likely to exaggerate this phenomenon further. To reach this growing sector of the marketplace, mobile optimisation is the only way forward.
Large scale surveys suggest that as of Q1 2019, 46% of all online orders were placed through smartphones. Data gathered from 1,000 e-commerce sites and 500 million shoppers suggest that mobile and desktop sales segments have achieved parity.
However, that doesn’t take into account the overall trend. Desktop orders lost 12% of the global ecommerce share between Q1 2017 and Q1 2019, while in the same period mobile orders saw a rise of 14%.
While these projections were pre-2020, and COVID-19 has doubtlessly slowed this trend somewhat, with more people at home using desktop computers, the trend is unlikely to vanish completely. Normalcy in the internet retailing world has fundamentally shifted. Mobile optimisation is now unprecedentedly necessary for more and more businesses.
Even if your mobile optimised store doesn’t see huge sales, it is still valuable, recent data suggests. Six out of 10 customers, when buying something online, would start their purchase journey on one device and end it on another. A further 82% say that while browsing in a brick-and-mortar store they will look for further information about a product on their phones.
Mobile commerce optimisation means more than just enabling customers to make purchases easily. You need to make as much information available as possible.
The stereotype suggests that smartphones have fragmented and splintered the average person’s attention span. This data would suggest there is some truth to this:
To retain users browsing from smartphones, you need to act quickly and act impressively. Your website needs to be fast to load, to make it clear that it can be relied upon to make a purchase with ease.
As smartphones consume larger sections of the browser base, the full potential of these devices is being realised. Projections by Worldpay suggest mobile payments will reach 28% of all transactions in 2022. Mobile payments will then surpass the 22% of payments made with credit cards, and the 17% that are cash payments.
Since cart abandonment issues plague all forms of ecommerce at every stage of the process, you cannot afford more complexity than necessary. Typing in an entire credit/debit card number string into a phone can be difficult and complex, but mobile payments and ewallets allow these processes to be much easier. So much so, that 39% of consumers worldwide preferring to use mobile payment methods as of a 2017 survey. When optimising for mobile sales, a vast array of mobile payment options are and should be available to make the most of your mobile ecommerce opportunities.
One of the biggest advantages of mobile commerce experience is exactly that. Mobility.
Shopping takes place from anywhere, at any time. But just because a shopper is mobile, doesn’t make their location irrelevant. 2015 data gathered by Google and Ipsos reveals that 61% of smartphone users are more likely to purchase a product when the mobile site in question is personalised to their location.
Offers could be based on the weather where you are, what is popular with other shoppers nearby, local sports teams, or nearby facilities. Any number of these optimisations, or dozens of others, could be the difference between a sale and someone scrolling away.
The growing weight of data goes beyond just showing the enormity of the mobile marketplace, it reveals the need for businesses to adapt, or else get left behind. For those who embrace ‘mobile-first’ as their ecommerce business mantra, online retail has more opportunities than ever before.
To learn more about how you can make the mobile commerce market shift work for your business, talk to the OrderWise ecommerce team to learn more about cross-device optimisation for your website.
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