Mobile eCommerce on the Rise

According to IBMs Digital Analytics Benchmarks Hub’s data, 2014 online sales were up 8.3% by Christmas day from last year, and mobile device traffic rose 18.%. According to bigcommerce’s merchant data, mobile purchases on Christmas day actually doubled in just one year, with 37% of consumers using a mobile device to do their shopping. Clearly, mobile e-commerce is on an inexorable rise, so you’re going to want to make your company’s mobile experience the best possible. How is that going to work? 


Despite this auspicious data on the rise of mobile ecommerce, usability guru, Jakob Nielsen asserts that due to poor mobile design, mobile commerce is still less successful than desktop e-commerce. In his recent post on the Nielson Norman Group site, entitled M-Commerce: Terrible UX (at least for Christmas 2014 sales), Nielson zeroes in on two issues with the current state of mobile ecommerce: there are fewer conversions to sales on mobile devices and there are lower average order prices.


It’s true that poor mobile design certainly contributes to low conversion data, however, we believe that in today’s world of ever evolving tech, it’s never quite that simple. Other factors like habit, a sense of trust and the on-the-go mindset contribute to these metrics as well. Also, fewer conversions to sales and lower average order prices are not necessarily purely negative. Let’s explore the significance of these metrics further in the context of mobile ecommerce’s current surge in the marketplace. 


Ok, so you sold less on mobile, and the purchases customers did make had a lower average order size. This sounds like a disaster, right? At first glance, sure, but if we drill down a bit deeper into these metrics and focus of the explicit circumstances of the users creating this data, importantinformation is revealed. First of all, more people browsing across devices is a good thing because it means more exposure for your products. Customers may research your products on their mobile device and then make their purchase later, at home on their desktop. Ultimately, the purchase was made on a desktop, but it may be that if the customer hadn’t had the option of browsing while on-the-go with their mobile device, the purchase wouldn’t have been made at all. Also, the ability to shop online via your mobile device increases the likelihood that shoppers will make spontaneous and/or complementary purchases that they might not have made without the mobile option. These complementary and spontaneous purchases might be small and therefore decrease the average order value, but they still increase revenue overall, so in this case, lower average order size is not indicative of anything negative.


Since customers are shopping across devices, it’s important to analyze what’s compelling them to do so. Is there something about the mobile experience your company offers that needs improvement? Are customers worried that the tech is going to fail in the middle of their transaction? Is your mobile site secure? Speed and connection failure are also worth considering. Another important factor to consider is that mobile ecommerce revenue is industry dependent. According to Mobify, food/drugs had double the conversion rate of computers/electronics in 2013. 


Finally, yes… design. Your smartphone ecommerce experience should be one that makes the customer want to return and buy more stuff. Make it extremely easy to check out and make it fun and effortless to search for items. The easier it is to search the more complementary items your customers will buy. The easier it is to check out, the less you’ll be dealing with shopping cart abandonment. Keep it streamlined. Remember that load times can be longer on mobile devices and that can deter customers from completing a purchase. And remember, expect customers to shop across platforms. Your mobile design better be good, but also your cross platform usability should be seamless. All your platforms being streamlined and in step with each other in terms of usability and design will inspire trust and loyalty in your customers.


We’d love to chat with you more about creating the best possible mobile ecommerce experience for your business.