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Mobile eCommerce for Brands: The Benefits

17 March 2015
A woman using her mobile phone on the underground | Neon

It’s no secret that brands only stand to benefit from making their online experience accessible on mobile devices, especially due to the consistent increase year on year of mobile devices not only being responsible for driving increasing numbers of traffic to e-commerce websites but having an increasing contribution on revenue generated.

The ‘Year of the Mobile’ tag has been used to represent the last couple of years, however, this term does seem appropriate for 2015, with eCommerce brands seen to benefit substantially if done correctly.

eCommerce Performance to date

In 2014 Shopify analysed data from its 100,000 eCommerce stores that use the Shopify platform and discovered that 50.3% of traffic came from mobile devices, as opposed to the remaining 49.7% coming from desktop.

Compare this to a report released by ShopVisible in 2013 that also analysed eCommerce website traffic and found that only 30% of website traffic was attributed to mobile, and you can see how the figures have grown. While both of these reports analyse slightly different amounts of data, the trend is clear to see and brands would be foolish not to factor in a mobile strategy into their 2015 digital marketing strategy, if not done so already.

While generating website traffic is one thing, the primary objective for all eCommerce brands is to generate revenue. Creating a smooth and flawless customer journey could be the key deciding factor on whether a user purchases or not, and providing a mobile-friendly website goes a long way to achieving this. While eCommerce brands may have got by until now providing a desktop version of the website through mobile devices, more and more users are searching for that smooth buying process, and brands may have lost potential and existing customers by the time they finally catch up.

IMRG released figures in February 2015, which state that mobile was responsible for 40% of all online sales during the period from November 2014 – January 2015, which is up from 37% the previous quarter, and up from 32% when comparing year on year.

What does the future hold?

There are numerous forecasts regarding the impact on eCommerce websites through the increased usage of mobile devices. In a report published in February 2015 issued by PayPal, it states that mobile commerce is currently growing three times faster than eCommerce on a global level. also released an article predicting mobile to account for half of all eCommerce traffic by the end of 2017. The article highlights 2 main reasons for this:

  1. The increased usage of mobile digital assistants such as Google Now, Cortana and Siri
  2. Improvement of mobile payment ‘wallets’, which according to “are likely to improve consumer trust in making transactions on alternative devices, so much so that in a Worldpay Global Guide to Alternative Payments report released last year, it was predicted that alternative payment methods (APMs) will overtake card payments by 2017.”

Brands are having to increase the budget assigned to mobile device experiences, with mobile expected to be responsible for 83% of the total search spend, a staggering increase from 13% in 2012.

In fact, a report by Forrester released in February 2015 states that online spending in China is expected to reach $1 Trillion, with the increase in mobile eCommerce the main contributing factor to achieving this figure, more specifically the increase in popularity and usage of mobile apps.

Impact of Mobile Apps

For brands planning on implementing a mobile strategy in 2015, one question they will face is whether to provide their users with a mobile app or not. User perception of mobile apps has changed over the years; while back in 2012 Nielsen released figures showing that users much preferred a brand’s mobile website as opposed to using an app, fast forward a year and an article in Econsultancy features results from a report conducted by Compuware that states 85% of users now prefer using apps over a mobile website. The three main reasons users gave for these results were:

  • More convenient
  • Faster
  • Easier to browse

The main advantage of creating a mobile app is, despite users having to download and install the app, businesses have more control over their presence on a device than they would with a mobile website. For instance, a mobile app can be closed or inactive, but still work in the background to send geo-targeted push notifications and gather data about customers’ preferences and behaviours.

One key point to emphasise is all brands should look to have a mobile-friendly website, with an app being seen as a bonus in user experience and an ability to gather further user information.

Impact on Search (SEO)

With Google still being the primary search engine for the majority of internet users, any algorithms or changes in ranking signals have to be taken into serious consideration by all brands. As of April 21st 2015, Google stated that websites that are ‘Mobile Friendly’ will see an increase in performance in the mobile search results, as opposed to websites that aren’t. By doing this Google is demonstrating that providing a good user mobile experience is going to be vital moving forward, and brands that are yet to achieve this are in danger of being left behind.

Another interesting development that has come out from Google in February 2015 is the trialling of red slow warnings in mobile search results (see image below). This is to signify if a page is slow and is likely to result in poor user experience. This may also influence whether a user clicks on the link for this website or not, giving an advantage to websites that do provide a website with good page speed.

With multiple eCommerce brands selling similar products, any advantage in the organic search results could be very lucrative, especially as users have a habit of going back to brand websites if a good user experience was achieved.

SciVisum undertook a study where product pages on the top 10 UK retailers’ websites were analysed in the build-up to the 2014 Christmas period on both desktop and android devices and found that 2 of the top 10 websites still don’t serve mobile-friendly results. Another top retailer didn’t make the mobile version automatically accessible to mobile users, as well as not providing any links to it.

In the ever-competitive industry of eCommerce, the user journey is influential in the consumer buying process and may well be the thing that makes or breaks a user purchasing from a specific brand. With mobile marketing a major force in 2015, combined with the increased usage of mobile devices for product and service purchasing, providing a flawless mobile experience has no longer become an option, it has become a necessity.

If you are interested in providing your customers with great user experience, no matter what device they’re using, get in touch with our development team to find out how we can help.

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