In the UK, mobile now accounts for 40% of online retail sales – and that’s a figure which is growing rapidly quarter on quarter (1). Yet for many consumers, the mobile shopping experience is still poor, and retailers are not delivering a good enough experience to convert would-be customers.
Many customers are struggling to make it beyond their shopping carts when buying on a mobile device – with desktop sales conversions 2.7 times higher than mobile conversions. In other words, only 19% of shopping carts accessed using a smartphone result in completed purchases versus 30% on a desktop (2).
There is clearly a disconnect, as it’s reported that shoppers in the US spend 59% of their ‘web’ time on a mobile device, but only 15% of their dollars are being spent through mobile channels (3). Bad connectivity can sometimes prevent sales moving forward if shoppers are accessing sites on the go, but it appears to be often down to poor mobile experiences offered by retailers. Many merchants have not got dedicated apps, or at the very least haven’t yet optimised their sites for mobile. Shoppers are having to go through the standard desktop purchase process using a tiny screen – and it’s often not possible to easily complete the purchase from a mobile device because of non-optimised payment gateways.
Is mobile stopping your customers finding you?
And this lack of optimisation is not just affecting shoppers trying to complete purchases – it’s impacting customers even finding you in the first place if you don’t have a mobile optimised site. Google is now prioritising the ranking of websites that are optimised for mobile above non-optimised retailers – so ignoring smartphone and tablet traffic will start to cost ecommerce outlets from both sides (3).
In fact, research by the Centre for Retail Research has said that the UK retail industry is losing £6.6bn every year due to a lack of investment in a mobile optimised solution (1). Retailers need to look at ways to improve each part of the sales process – from viewing products, obtaining stock information through to actually placing an order. It’s not just about having a mobile optimised site – it’s about being able to access easy to use payment methods that are also optimised for engagement on a mobile device.
1 in 5 retailers have no mobile offering
The same research also suggests that 1/5 of retailers in the UK still have no mobile offering – despite 88% of retailers saying that having a mobile channel would result in more visits to their store. This is because many consumers are not exclusively using online and in-store channels to purchase, but are instead using a blend of the two by consulting their smartphones in store before making purchases in-person.
So there is clearly demand from consumers, and retailers can see the potential benefits that could be realised from having a dedicated mobile strategy, yet 40% of UK consumers still feel the mobile experience could be improved so there is more work to be done (1). When the top searched for items are high-value products such as clothing and electronics, it surely makes sense for retailers to try and address the huge gap between abandoned carts on mobile devices and abandoned purchases on desktops. If the only difference is that the device used by consumers is mobile, then the reasons must be down to poor experience due to lack of optimisation for smartphones. It’s a factor that is within the retailer’s control – so how can they take advantage of this opportunity?
Moving to mobile optimisation
We all know that websites need to be mobile optimised, but for retailers it’s a matter of commercial life and death. Without optimisation, customers can’t easily purchase or navigate through payment screens. If the text is too small to read or consumers have to zoom in to input their bank details then it’s unlikely that they will be keen to return to complete their purchase, nevermind return in the future.
The easiest step is to build mobile responsiveness into any new web design projects from the ground up. You don’t need a dedicated app – you just need a mobile optimised website that can organise your information into a mobile friendly view. Regular testing is critical to ensuring information is displayed how you intend it – but many of the main ecommerce software tools offer mobile responsive functionality to help you easily offer mobile purchasing options.
Another option is to focus on the visuals. Keep your mobile offering clean and full of visuals so customers are not having to zoom in on small text or having to click small buttons within chunks of information. Make it visual and easy to navigate from a small screen.
Less text is more on a mobile device, so let the pictures do the talking (4).
Many forward-thinking retailers are moving to a mobile-first design – they design their ecommerce stores with mobile at the forefront of what they are doing, and desktop comes second. As more consumers are purchasing off their mobile, why design for a declining market?
So, are you on board with mobile?