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Did you know in the US more than a quarter of people use only their phones during the day to access the internet? In addition to playing games, chatting with friends, and reading the news, people are now using mobile devices to shop. This presents an amazing opportunity for retailers to access more shoppers, especially those that live in a mobile-only world.
In the coming years mobile commerce is predicted to grow rapidly while desktop growth flat lines, and by 2020 mobile commerce is expected to represent 45% of US ecommerce sales. But what is stimulating the mobile movement?
Smartphone adoption and usage
It’s clear smartphones have become widely adopted. Today, you can be anywhere – on a bus, in a subway, or on the street and see tons of people on their smartphones. In fact, over three-quarters of Americans own a smartphone and most spend almost 3 hours a day on them. When a retailer invests in the mobile experience they’re able to meet shoppers where they spend the most time.
Smartphones have been around for more than a decade and over that time people have become more comfortable browsing the mobile web and using apps. But only recently has the mobile experience become efficient enough to get more people to shop on their phones.
Shoppers already use mobile devices to shop
The convenience of shopping on-the-go has made mobile commerce more attractive. With recent improvements to the mobile experience, smartphones now compliment, or substitute, shopping in-store or on computers.
Shoppers are using their smartphones to research products and some even prefer using a mobile device to browse instead of a computer. A Google study found 9 verticals (including consumer electronics, apparel, and auto) that experienced 20% – 45% YOY growth in mobile searches from Q2 2015 to Q2 2016. And recently, during Black Friday and Cyber Monday, mobile research spiked as Walmart saw 70% of their website traffic come from mobile. For people that shop online daily, 31% prefer browsing on a mobile over a computer.
Each year, more shoppers are also buying via mobile devices. In Q2 2016, more than half of top retailers’ ecommerce sales came from mobile, representing 30% YOY growth. In addition, mobile commerce passed a huge milestone on Black Friday and Cyber Monday when mobile sales surpassed $1 billion each day. Within mobile transactions, smartphones are now preferred over tablets with 70% market share.
People are becoming more confident shopping on their smartphones. For retailers looking to invest in their mobile experience, now is the time. However, before you start, consider which mobile channels work best for your business.
Where to invest: browsers or apps?
When investing in the mobile experience, you need to decide where to focus your resources. Would you be better off investing more in your mobile site? Or should you add a shopping app to your repertoire? The decision isn’t easy because each investment has both benefits and drawbacks.
Mobile websites are the backbone of mobile commerce. Many retailers focus solely on improving their mobile website because they can create and control a consistent experience across many devices. Unlike apps, websites don’t take up precious storage space, which is great because most people already have over 27 apps on their phones. But maintaining control of the mobile experience across multiple devices isn’t easy because there are many different web browsers, types of phones, and operating systems.
Shopping apps, on the other hand, are used to take the mobile experience further and compliment mobile sites. Apps are highly customizable, letting retailers create a unique experience tailored to their shoppers. A shopping app can also be used as a direct marketing channel to stimulate sales through push notifications. Mobile app users are more loyal as they’re twice as likely to return within a month compared to mobile web users and their app conversion rates and AOVs are much higher than on mobile browsers. However, apps are very expensive to develop and maintain, and are often used in tandem with mobile browsers.
There is no better time to invest in mobile than now. But when you decide to develop your mobile experience and get more digital sales, you need to consider which experience works best for your business and your customers.
Mobile commerce doesn’t look to be slowing down anytime soon as more people use their smartphones to shop. Eighty percent of big ecommerce businesses have already adapted to the mobile movement, will you join them?
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