Is a Mobile Site Enough?

Posted by Content Maestro

April 9, 2013 | 11:00 AM

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Surviving eCommerce Requires a Mobile Site, but is that Enough?

A Follow-Up Study

Last year, we released the results of a mobile study using a few Magento Imagine attendees as part of our sample group. From a diverse list of online retailers, we determined that only 17 percent of those merchants were offering a mobile optimized site in early 2012.

While not shocking, the data collected on mobile usage suggested that consumers were expecting an experience that far fewer organizations were providing. Statistics published by Business Insider on mobile purchases made in 2011 indicated that more than one third of all US consumers had used a smart phone to purchase a product or service. Furthermore, according to Google’s GOMO initiative homepage, www.howtogomo.com, 75 percent of customers prefer a mobile friendly site.

The bottom line: mobile users will only continue to become more prevalent; in order to survive and thrive as an online business, if you have a website, you need a mobile site as well. As noted in a NY Times Bits Blog by Claire Cain Miller, citing eMarketer: “…in 2012, people spent $25 billion on purchases made from phones and tablets, an increase of 81 percent from [2011]”.

Using the same list of merchants, we discovered that the number of organizations with a mobile site had little more than doubled at 35 percent.

While these numbers are encouraging, with the rate at which eCommerce and mCommerce are growing, “…a compound annual growth rate of 10.1 percent [from 2011 to 2016]” according to Forrester Research as cited by Thad Rueter in Internet Retailer 2012, merchants and service providers need be wary of not how quickly they can develop a mobile site, but how effectively they work mobile channel initiatives into their business strategies. Market polls are already revealing that if your organization does, in fact, have a mobile site but the checkout process is convoluted, conversion rates may not be substantial enough to justify the initial investment. With regard to those retailers with brick and mortar stores, how should a mobile site allow consumers to interact with sales personnel, if at all? Merchants should consider coupon alerts upon check-in, or perhaps wish list functionality for those items requiring in-store visits which may need to be sized or customized. According to rapidmarketplace.com, which cited a Mobile Audience Insights Report from JiWire 2012, statistics are also illustrating that “80 percent of mobile users prefer locally relevant advertising and 75 percent are more likely to take action after seeing a location-specific message”, which demonstrates the need for a well-executed mobile marketing strategy as well. Another challenge to consider might be whether retailers should choose a responsive design, or strip down its site to the most essential content for a simplified user experience; each choice poses its own set of benefits and drawbacks.

We’re pleased to see new names on this year’s list of mobile merchants, and based on market predictions, we should expect the number of mobile sites per merchant surveyed to rise relative to this past year’s trend, if not more. More significant, however, is how quickly users have adopted and now expect a clean, easy to navigate, informative mobile experience.

If your organization is planning to or has already made a move to mobile, you’re on the right track but efforts shouldn’t end there. Formulating a plan which is considerate of all your commerce channels and heavily focused on marketing will ensure success.

For a full copy of the study, please call 216.369.3600 or email info@briteskies.com.

Topics: eCommerce, Magento

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