To say that mobile has revolutionized shopping — both online and in-store — would be a serious understatement. More than 60% of shopping behavior now starts on a smartphone or tablet (Google, The New Multi-Screen World), more than a trillion dollars in sales can be attributed to mobile’s influence, and upwards of 76% of people interact with brands on mobile at some point in time (Deloitte Digital).
Yet there are tons of missed opportunities when it comes to maximizing mobile for cross-channel success. Many retailers still haven’t revamped their eCommerce, marketing or organizational strategies to shift mobile to the forefront where it belongs.
Luckily, there are always disruptors. Some of the savviest have already taken mobile by the reigns with truly impressive results. Guidance reached out to several successful mobile brands to find out how they’ve mobilized, so to speak, and the result is our latest white paper, The Mobile Retailer: How Merchants like Charming Charlie and Pura Vida Put Mobile First, available for download here.
According to comScore/GPShopper, 54% of mobile shoppers conduct research, 35% create shopping lists, and 24% check store inventory from their phones. People are using mobile to interact with brands more than ever before, far beyond just shopping through their devices.
“This paper is born from the dramatic explosion in mobile engagement that’s happening, with people using their phones for everything at an enormous rate,” says Brian Beck, Guidance’s SVP, eCommerce and Omni-channel Strategy. And the numbers are truly staggering: “For many of our clients, more than 50% of the traffic is coming from mobile devices; in some cases as high as 60-70%.”
Rather than seeing mobile as just another purchase funnel, the innovators are treating it holistically, as a direct and powerful influencer of omni-channel sales. Conversions are important, of course, but the real purpose is providing a handheld hub for brand interaction across multiple channels.
A Dramatic Disconnect
“It’s an interesting evolution for retailers,” says Mr. Beck. “Ten years ago, ecommerce was new. That’s ten years of baked-in, legacy process; a decade of merchandising and marketing for desktop computers and laptops. And now you have to change the way you’re thinking about everything to focus on mobile, because that’s where most interaction begins.” The traditional approach is still prevalent, but it’s the mobile-first retailers who are reaping significant rewards, as can be seen in The Mobile Retailer.
Mobile Shopping Cart = Center of Commerce
In addition to learning about products and brands, people use mobile to create shopping carts, which serve as digital wish lists of sorts. While they may not eventually convert there, mobile carts have evolved into major catalysts for closing the loop in-store or offline. They are a clear sign of shopping intent, and the best merchants are jumping quickly to capitalize on this trend. Closing the loop between mobile and in-store sales has driven real results for a number of retailers, some of whom have seen 68% increases in basket size, 100% captures on customer data, and more.
Sense of Urgency Higher than Ever
Another thing fueling the fire for mobile-first thinking? The average time spent on mobile sites. Based on Demandware data between Q1 2015 and Q1 2016, the duration of average mobile visits declined from 8.2 seconds to 7.4 seconds: a 9.75% change. Bounce rates are also much lower when pages load efficiently. One study found that conversion rates increase around 74% when load times declined from 8 to 2 seconds (Gomez/Dynatrace). Retailers must keep up to keep customers engaged.
Upping the Ante with Loyalty
One of the most surprising takeaways from the research was how quickly mobile can influence loyalty programs. Beck cites PacSun as a great example, having added more than a million new sign-ups in just six months after modernizing their mobile platform and creating a built-in loyalty program. “When you hit on something that works, it really takes off,” he says. “Tying in-store and online transactions together through loyalty solved a customer need. It created a successful engagement method using mobile devices. It was an extremely dramatic adoption.”
Not Just for Millennials
Mobile is no longer predominantly for the younger set, either. “We’re seeing the same kind of behavior in terms of mobile shifts across all demographics. Even retailers that have 50+ demographics, and folks in their 70s are using mobile phones as a hub for commerce, for learning about products and shopping. There’s only a slightly bigger impact in the millennial age range,” continues Beck. “One of our clients, for example, has a target demographic of 40+ women, and they enjoy an enormous amount of mobile traffic: upwards of 60%.”
Smartening Up Your Smartphone Game
According to Beck, mobile-centric thinking is the only way to go. “For retailers specifically, mobile first is the right approach, because we’ve consistently seen shifts to mobile across every retailer we encounter. Where it’s less important is in B2B, in certain categories.” Download The Mobile Retailer for a deeper look at the case studies, read analyses and recommendations, and understand how to be a mobile evangelist within your own organization.
As technology continues to move at breakneck speed, retailers need to scramble to catch up — and to catch consumers at all. “If you don’t quickly present something that’s compelling,” says Beck, “you’re going to lose them.”