Smartphone screens have become larger, websites have become responsive and mobile is emerging as the preferred method for shopping online. The recent Mobile Commerce Index report from mobile commerce company Branding Brand shows an increase of nearly 40% in mobile-optimized website visits over the previous July and a 97.6% increase in smartphone revenue.
The use of mobile devices by consumers over the past few years has been steadily increasing and in July mobile traffic was only .4% less than non-mobile traffic. By this Christmas mobile visits should exceed non-mobile for the first time ever. What’s interesting is the conversion rate (a web visit where a purchase is made) and especially the revenue market share is still dominated by non-mobile, but is increasing rapidly in smartphones.
This is an opportunity for businesses who can capitalize on increased smartphone traffic by creating well-designed, functional websites that compel customers to complete the transaction from their phone. While some customers may be content to wait until they’re in front of a computer to make purchases, many potential clients who are visiting your site for the first time are probably only going to give your site a couple minutes at most if it doesn’t function as expected.
Back in May we posted a story about how L.L.Bean increased annual sales from $400 million to $1.56 billion in 2013, due in no small part to the success of their website. One of the reasons I believe L.L.Bean is so successful is how well their website works on mobile devices. Last year I was shopping for a pair of New Balance shoes and was able to browse, compare, review and buy right from my phone on L.L.Bean’s website, all during a 40 minute bus ride. It was easy, but if it hadn’t been, I would have delayed my purchase and I may have gone somewhere else for the same product. Instead, I’ve returned to L.L.Bean whenever possible because I had a good experience on my most often used shopping device, my smartphone.
The Retail Satisfaction Barometer from CFI Group offers insight into what makes mobile shopping appealing to consumers. According to their research, use of Mobile Shopping Apps increased by 20%, used mostly for product information, reviews, coupons, and better prices.Those surveyed are more likely to buy from a company with “advanced mobile capabilities” such as mobile checkout and coupons delivered via mobile. The retailers who can integrate mobile apps to speed up the checkout process will put themselves ahead of the competition, particularly among people ages 18-34, 67% of whom use mobile shopping apps.
Whether you’re a sole proprietor, a small business, or a major retailer, mobile internet is one of the most important tools for reaching customers. Just as a good website can make a positive impression and create new opportunities, a bad mobile website is sure to send potential customers running.