Mobile ecommerce requires a strategy, not a reaction
There is little doubt that retailers need a mobile strategy. All of the usage statics show that consumers are mobile, that smartphone and tablets are replacing desktop computers as the primary devices, and that mobile commerce is on the rise.
By this point, there are so many lists of statistics and infographics on the ascendancy of mobile commerce that it’s almost beside the point to list them. For argument’s sake, though, here are some of the more compelling:
Leading the list of mobile shopping and consumer behavior stats on mobiThinking.com is a stat from Google/Ipsos that 79% of smartphone owners use their phones to help with shopping, and 70% use them in the store. Research from comScore shows that the U.S. now has 98 million smartphone subscribers, representing nearly 42% of all U.S. mobile users. See details in comScore’s 2012 Mobile Future in Focus white paper (registration required). If you like infographics, take a look at 2012 Mobile Trends and How Mobile Trends Are Shaping E-commerce.
Aside from documenting the shift to mobile, these statistics also indicate the need for every retailer to have a logical mobile strategy and development roadmap. This requires planning, not reaction.
You do not want to develop a mobile site without a strategy. Hammer down the underlying business reasons for any mobile development project. Understand your customers, their usage, and what mobile experience best meets their current and future shopping patterns. As Forrester analyst Julie Ask puts it:
“2012 is less about what you offer in mobile than about how you go about doing it. You need a long term mobile technology roadmap. . . . You need to take mobile into account when you are making decisions about your web site, data architecture and infrastructure. You need a plan for collecting and utilizing customer data without jeopardizing their privacy or seeming creepy.”
Here are the kinds of questions, all backed by the statistics, you should be asking:
- Do your traffic analytics show that an increasing number of mobile consumers are visiting your store? If so, what are they doing?
- Are they checking prices in your physical store?
- Are they searching for the nearest store location while driving about?
- Are they buying from your catalog?
- Are they scanning QR codes and going to an offer on your website?
- Are they redeeming offers sent by email?
- Are they sharing content from your site on social media or email?
- Are they using smartphones, tablets, or both? Apple or Andriod?
Look at the data closely. Your answers will tell you what kind of mobile ecommerce experience will best serve your customers. Should the site use a robust responsive design approach, where the site automatically adjusts to fit the screen characteristics of the mobile device, whether a smartphone or a tablet? Or will a simple mobile -only site serve just as well?
There’s no doubt mobile is the ecommerce trend of the moment, and it’s a critically important one. Rather than reacting to the stats, however, think your mobile strategy through. In the end, your mobile initiatives will be judged by increased conversions and, ultimately, revenue.
To read more lyonscg blog posts that cover all aspects of ecommerce, magento and demandware, go to our ecommerce blog. For more information on lyonscg’s strategy services, please visit our ecommerce strategy page.