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e-Commerce Industry News

September 9, 2014
Why people are avid mobile shoppers but not mobile buyers
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September 9, 2014
Mobile shoppers are not always mobile buyers. Mobile shoppers are not
always mobile buyers.
A lot of people shop from their smartphones, but proportionally few actually make any purchases from these devices. Depending on which study and research you look at, some reports have even suggested that only half of mobile shoppers even wind up buying on these devices. So, what gives?

The reason why people prefer making purchases from their desktop computers will likely vary from person to person, but here are three common factors merchants need to consider as they develop their mobile and online stores:

1. Ease of use
No matter how well designed mobile sites are, there will always be some drawbacks associated with them. It is ultimately a matter of form factor - the tiny four to five-inch screens that come standard on most mobile devices are simply not conducive to shopping. When you add in the fact that many retailers have not even optimized their sites for smaller smartphone screens, it only makes sense for customers to be more hesitant about making a purchase.

For example, how many times have you been browsing a mobile website, only to accidentally touch the wrong link or image? Then you are taken to the wrong page and forced to go back, zoom in and then try your luck again trying to get to the right site.

Retailers need to be particularly concerned about mobile misclicks because they can throw off their data by a significant margin. If they use omnichannel retailing to track customers across different shopping avenues, it may look like customers are showing interest in products they actually did not want to buy. Additionally, misclicks can artificially inflate click-through and engagement rates, which may lead retailers to misvalue their mobile sites and campaigns.

2. Privacy concerns
Shoppers have become more cognizant of their data, particularly after their all of the NSA security leaks, as Struq CEO Sam Barnett recently wrote for AdExchanger. People may not be as concerned about losing a laptop or desktop computer simply because they are often left at home. When it comes to mobile devices, however, it is a whole new ballgame - you probably do not have to look far to find someone who left their phone somewhere they should not have or otherwise lost it.

Although there are ways for users to remotely wipe data from their phones, the fact of the matter is that many people may simply consider it easier to not keep sensitive information in their phones to begin with. This can lead to issues when it comes to making purchases - people do not want to enter their billing information, shipping information and credit card numbers through a touchpad every time they are shopping on their smartphones.

3. Different intent
Retailers often like to group all website visitors as shoppers, but intent can differ between device user. Sometimes, people using their phones to visit merchants' websites are only doing so with the intent to research - they do not go onto these sites expecting to make a purchase in the first place. It is crucial in that regard for merchants to pay attention to this factor and keep their expectations in line.

Although mobile conversion rates are not always high, retailers can make changes to their mobile campaigns to secure more purchases. Internet Retailer recently noted a few merchants that secure up to 50 percent of their sales from smartphones. However, these sellers take a different approach than most merchants, often making use of time-sensitive flash sales and other tactics.

At the end of the day, mobile devices can be used in a variety of ways to drive value for omnichannel retailing efforts. Whether sellers use them to sell directly to customers or solely as research portals, it is crucial that merchants know in advance how they want to incorporate smartphones and tablets.