The online shopping revolution continues to gain momentum. Latest industry data from IMRG suggests that for the very first time, the majority of online purchases are being made on mobile devices (smartphones and tablets), rather than traditional computers and laptops. The stats represent a significant advance on the previous year’s figure of 40%.
Marketing analysts suggest the surge in mobile device-led sales is driven by a combination of factors: video advertising on social media, greater retailer awareness of mobile-friendly websites, and the increasing size of smartphone screens.
Smartphone versus tablet
This is great news for online retailers, facilitating ‘shopping on the go’ and the possibility of 24/7 consumption. However, a remaining caveat remains. The same analysts have noted that there is still a tendency for consumers to browse retail sites and compare prices via their mobile phones, and then to make purchases using their tablets. Purchases via tablets are made at almost twice the frequency of those by smartphone. Of the 51% share of online purchases on mobile devices, 33% is through tablet, 18% through smartphone.
5 great tips
As there is little scope for larger smartphone screen size, the onus for increasing smartphone market share now lies with the retailer. Here are some top industry tips for ensuring consumer-friendly mobile marketing platforms:
- Ensure shopping based ads are tailored to mobile devices and users, and that they avoid unnecessary scrolling: copy should be short and to the point.
- Retailer websites must be mobile responsive. Without this function retailers are currently losing approximately a third of potential sales, with this statistic only likely to increase in the near future.
- Purchasing through smartphone should be incentivised, with promotions and discounts directed specifically at smartphone customers, to direct consumer behaviour.
- The retailer website/user interaction needs to be as fluid and rapid as possible. This involves ensuring there are no extended forms to complete, or buttons to press. Paypal currently provides a great model of this type of ‘one-click’ purchasing, which can be expedited in a matter of seconds.
- Retailers should consider investing in in-app purchasing. Apps can enhance product catalogues and provide a simple, easy and quick way of placing an order.