The M-Commerce Glass: Half Full or Half Empty?

The Interactive Media in Retail Group have reported a remarkable 353% surge in m-commerce transactions for the year to April 2012 (it was 254% to March 2012) –  you’ve heard us mention those figures before.  However, the actual term used in their press release was “spike”, although that suggests there will be a similar drop in future months. We obviously contend that we will see a continual shift to mobile sales for the near future.

Also of interest is the fact that m-commerce conversion rates are now only a fraction behind the e-commerce alternative; having increased from 0.8% to 1.3% over the year.

But what’s the driver for such a surge? One could reasonably expect that people have become more confident regarding security and have become more familiar with m-commerce over the period. However, we agree with IMRG that main factor is that ‘more and more retailers offer mobile-optimised websites to attract busy shoppers‘ and that it is this ability of retailers to serve their customers wherever they are in a way that seamlessly fits into their lifestyles which is responsible for that rapid growth.

But Why Now?
The answer is quite simple. It’s due to companies such as ourselves, inquisitive developers and management teams able to see the growing trend for consumers willing and able to purchase on their mobile devices.

Furthermore, as setting up an m-commerce solution has become more of a quick, simple and cost-effective solution over the past twelve months; more retailers have decided the time is now right to cater for their mobile customers.

Given that conversion rates for mobile-using customers are significantly higher if you have a mobile site enabled, those retailers who have taken action, are reaping the rewards of first-mover advantage. They’re gaining new customers and goodwill and that is the greatest driver for retailers.

The Cup Half Full or Half Empty?
Another recent study, again as reported by IMRG, stated that 87% of Britons have never bought via their mobile, hence 13% have and that’s still a very significant and growing number. The figure of interest, however, to those retailing FCMG goods is that over 1/4 of those of those aged from 23 to 29 have bought via their mobile. Again, this is a figure that we’re sure will only continue to grow.

What the study doesn’t show, however, is the impact that mobile sites have on the overall purchase process. Consumers research products using mobile devices in store and then purchase via either those mobile phones or at work or home on the desktop machines. At the recent SAScon conference in Manchester it was mentioned that 65% of mobile users have actually researched prices whilst in-store.

This raises the interesting question of Mobile SEO and how Google priorities mobile-focused websites. We’re very conscious of mobile SEO and are ensuring that our products are fully mobile SEO compliant.

Why The Future is Mobile
One interesting insight from a report by Internet Retailing comes from the price comparison website Their Head of Merchant Services in the UK: Ryan Kemp commented that smartphones and tablets have been at the top of their users’ wish lists for the past three months. To us this shows that there will be a continued acceleration in mobile commerce for the foreseeable future.

But 13% of all web-based transactions to be mobile by the end of the year?
This week also saw Affiliate Window comment that 7% of their transactions that pass through their network are mobile-based and expect that figure to jump to a staggering 13% by the end of the year. One would expect that growth be dependent on the network increasing the total number of merchants with mobile sites to greatly increase from the ~50 to at least 100 – and we’re certainly doing our part to help turn that into a reality.

Image © Billaday

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