Mastering Holiday Payments Means Mastering Mobile

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The holidays are approaching, and mobile is going to play a bigger role in e-commerce than ever before. Last year, mobile holiday shopping traffic surpassed desktop for the first time and retailers are expecting even higher mobile traffic this year.

Below are six key mobile holiday shopping trends we’re seeing take shape for 2015.

More Holiday Purchases Will be Influenced by Mobile Than Ever Before. Consumers are turning to their mobile devices during all steps of the shopping journey, from inspiration to product research to purchase.

More than 40% of online activities are cross-device. And more than 66% emails are opened on mobile. As a result, consumers expect seamless experiences across all channels and devices.                 

Mobile Moments Will Drive Online Shopper Behavior. Consumers expect to get what they want in the moment they need it, and they expect mobile experiences to be frictionless. And they’re less concerned about where they buy their products (brand loyalty) than factors like price and fast, mobile optimized experiences. For example, 64% of smartphone users expect a site to load in 4 seconds or less, 25% abandon a cart if the navigation is too complex, 41% of holiday shoppers purchases from a new retailer last year and 36% abandon a cart because they find a better price elsewhere.

The expected growth of mobile traffic this holiday season means this in-the-moment mindset will play a larger role in online shopping behavior than ever before. Brands that fail to meet their customers’ needs during their mobile moments will lose out. This means not only delivering fast, mobile-specific experiences but also paying close attention the nuances of online consumer behavior.

The Line Between Online and In-Store Has Blurred. Ninety percent of retail shoppers use smartphones in stores. They’re looking up everything from reviews to product information to pricing comparisons. ‘Mobile showrooming,’ the practice of evaluating a product in the store only to buy it on mobile, is now mainstream. Consumers are using their smartphones even when they have access to in-store resources. The Consumer Electronics Association, for example, found that 58% of shoppers preferred to look up information on their mobile devices while shopping rather than speaking to store employees.

And not only are consumers turning to their smartphones while in stores, the path from mobile screen to brick-and-mortar is also shortening. About 90% of retailer shoppers use smartphones in stores, and 50% of consumers who conduct a local search on their smartphone visit a store within a day.

Brands with a brick-and-mortar presence are no longer thinking of their online presence and physical storefronts in silos. From easy-to-tap store locator features on mobile sites to easily clickable pick-up-in-store options in mobile checkouts, it’s now easier than ever for consumers to easily navigate between their in-store and online holiday shopping experiences.

Mobile Checkout Conversions Will Improve But Remain A Challenge. On mobile devices, the shopping cart abandonment challenge is even greater, as mobile conversion rates are about 70% lower than desktop. Although the gap between mobile and desktop will remain this holiday season, there are a number of user experience best practices retailers can implement to reduce shopping cart abandonment and increase their mobile checkout conversions.

Some examples include auto-detection of a mobile shopper’s city and state based on their zip code; auto-detection of credit card type (Visa, MC, Amex) based on card number; testing form fields to ensure compatibility with the autofill capabilities of today’s popular mobile browsers; and hiding option fields such as promotion code fields behind an accordion.

Unfortunately, one-touch payment options such as Apple Pay, Android Pay, and PayPal One Touch are not widely deployed within the top e-commerce sites. Shoppers will still need to peck in sixteen-digit credit card numbers in the 2015 holiday season.

This holiday season, checkout conversions may well be higher than last year, however, the gap between mobile and desktop checkout conversions remains.

The Mobile Web Will Continue to Dominate As Apps Play a Supporting Role. App usage accounts for 54% of the time spent using digital media. A closer look at the comScore data, however, reveals that 8 out of every 10 minutes of smartphone app time is actually spent on an individual’s top 3 apps. And according to Forrester, mobile shoppers prefer mobile websites to native apps for all mobile shopping related activities except using stored-value cards in-store.

It’s therefore not surprising that for most retailers, the mobile web plays a larger role in mobile commerce than do apps. While apps excel at cultivating customer loyalty, the web remains the main engine driving mobile traffic and revenue, with the mobile web contributing 95% of traffic growth to retail sites, versus just 5% by apps.

Retailers Who Are Not Optimizing All of Their Mobile Experiences Will Lose Out. Tablets burst onto the scene in 2010 with the launch of the iPad. Quarter after quarter, sales of tablets were on the rise.

According to Forrester Research, tablets are becoming increasingly critical for business. More than half of employees use a tablet for work purposes at least once a week, the study says. While those aren’t near the same numbers as laptops and smartphones, it shows a critical presence.

Based on our analysis of over 300 million mobile sessions in third quarter 2015, we found that tablet shoppers convert at more than 2.4 times the rate of smartphone shoppers.

And tablet shoppers generate over 2.2 times as much revenue per visit as consumers shopping on their smartphones.

It’s an exciting year for mobile commerce. Marketers face more opportunities to engage holiday shoppers on mobile than ever before. Is your brand ready?

Ajay Kapur is CEO of Moovweb.

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