Written by Tony Rose
eCommerce retailers are discovering that a good portion of their sales volume is now coming from mobile devices. Due to the devices’ larger screens, super-fast internet connections, and easy purchasing options, smartphones are fast becoming the most popular way in which consumers are making their online purchases.
Salesforce estimates that by the end of 2017, nearly 60 percent of online purchases will be made with mobile devices. It is estimated that mobile device purchases will grow to more than 70 percent by the end of 2018. Mobile shopping is, in fact, leading the growth in today’s marketplace.
Let’s take a look at recent trends. Research indicates that many consumers prefer the in-store experience that allows them to touch and feel a product, but when it comes to the actual buying process, they act differently. Year-over-year, actual purchases continue to move from brick-and-mortar stores to online––whether desktop or mobile.
There is a caveat, however. From 2015 to 2016 alone, mobile purchases increased 45 percent, compared to just 12 percent for desktop. This statistic is startling and also predictive of the future––that mobile shopping is becoming the preferred method of buying over in-store and desktop.
eCommerce retailers and brick-and-mortar locations that also have online stores, take note. The mobile buying experience is still challenging for users, and they want it simplified. In fact, consumers would probably buy even more with mobile devices if e-retailers got their acts together. Now is the time to revamp or rebuild your online site, and integrate it seamlessly with all of your other points of sale– including mobile.
Two tips: design for mobile first, and include one-click purchasing.
It is estimated that there will be 2 billion smartphone users worldwide by the end of 2017, and 222.9 million of those will be in the in the U.S. In order to keep up with consumer preferences, e-retailers need to create online browsing and shopping experiences with these potential consumers in mind.
Consumers want a seamless online shopping experience from desktop to mobile, and some older websites simply don’t translate well or navigate easily on a mobile platform. “Buy” buttons need to be on the home page and require one simple click; mobile users are much more distracted than desktop users, and online purchasing needs to be easy. For these and many other reasons, shopping carts are three times more likely to be abandoned on smartphones than desktops.
The good news about mobile shopping is that is it improving. Best practices are helping to enhance the mobile experience and thereby increase sales. For example, websites are not just being optimized for mobile use, but also designed from the very beginning to be easily navigated on a mobile device.
Merchants need to simplify their websites’ mobile checkouts, too. This includes providing easy-to-access shopping carts that scroll along with the page, and one-click purchasing options for registered customers.
Trusted mobile payment services such as Apple Pay and Google’s Android Pay are helping to create seamless, exceptional customer experiences on mobile devices. These services can streamline your customers’ checkout experience with just one click. In no time at all, a customer can buy one product or a full shopping cart of items, register on your site, and transmit payment and shipping data. It doesn’t get much simpler. And, these sites are easy for businesses to set up, too.
According to Forbes, the ticket search app Seat Geeks saw online conversions grow from 30 to 80 percent when they began offering Apple Pay. The famed crowdfunding site Indiegogo saw similar results, with a 2.5 times increase in funding when using Apple Pay.
Omnicommerce: the consumers’ portable journey with your brand.
While mobile is a popular way for consumers to engage with a retailer, it’s important to keep in mind the other various ways for customers to interact with a business. In fact, what’s most desirable for both retailers and their customers is a continuous, seamless, portable journey, or what is often referred to as “omnicommerce.”
With omnicommerce, the experience looks and feels the same, regardless of how a customer interacts with a retailer. The customer needs to enter their personal information only one time in order to access their shopping cart and purchasing options at other times. Mobile shopping carts are becoming an essential element in sales strategies. Retailers have found that shopping carts are now doubling as customer “wish lists,” and many so-called abandoned carts are converted into future purchases––whether online or in-store.
This seamless experience, from mobile device to desktop to in-store is what omnicommerce is all about. It’s a great way to reinforce your brand at every touch point, and a convenient benefit that consumers are starting to demand.
One of the largest obstacles that keeps customers from truly embracing the mobile experience is the fear of a data breach. The news is replete with stories of hackers stealing credit card information, and it’s led consumers to question the security of purchasing on a mobile device.
However, payment security technology has improved exponentially. Tokenization is a common security solution that is incorporated into many modern payments systems. Tokenization replaces card data with indecipherable information that is useless to anyone else who might try to use it, protecting data for future use.
The mobile journey
In-store and desktop shopping is decreasing. Mobile shopping is becoming more popular, and it’s only going to keep trending upward. Consumers want to be able to buy products wherever they are and expect the experience to be seamless.
It’s essential that retailers understand the importance of these trends and develop mobile strategies ASAP. Websites need to be designed from start-to-finish with mobile use in mind. Not only will retailers get reluctant buyers to complete checkout, they’ll also increase customer loyalty. Customers will keep coming back when the shopping experience is seamless and simplified.
Tony Rose is a Director of Product Management: Mobile at Vantiv, a leading provider of payment processing services and related technology solutions for merchants and financial institutions of all sizes. https://www.linkedin.com/in/chargehard