Mobile Usage Flourishes; Make Sure You Are Covered

The days of the ‘surfing the web’ primarily on one’s desktop are quickly fading.

A few years ago most of us would browse websites and check our email on our PCs- whether at home or at the office. Why? We got better experiences on the larger screens; smartphones were too small and few websites or emails were mobile friendly.

And few shoppers bought online as the browsing and checkout experience was just too onerous.

Times have changed, and in 2015, we see for the first time that more users are browsing online stores and checking their emails via their mobile devices (think smartphones and tablets) vs their PCs. 

And purchasing on mobile devices has jumped over 30% of the total online sales. 

Check out the growth of mobile online activity from IBM data for the last 6 years. (Thanks to Silverpop’s Erinne Mejia for sharing this data on a recent AMA webinar.)

Where are the biggest usage increases coming from- smartphones or tablets?

You guessed right if you said smartphones. Why? Smartphones’ screens are growing in size coupled with better shopping user experiences (responsive design ensures the website materials are presented optimally on different sized screens) – resulting in much higher numbers of smartphones being used for shopping activities.

Smartphone usage to browse and buy is growing much more quickly than that of tablets.

Still a challenge: conversion rates on smartphones

While conversions (defined in this case as online sales) on mobile devices are improving, smartphone conversions still lag the rates of desktops and tablets. Smartphones’ conversions of 1.51% are only one third of desktop’s 4+% and less than half of tablet’s 3+%.

Given the increase in smartphone usage, we marketers and merchandisers need to focus on improving this conversion metric.

So what can we do to increase conversions?

1. Improve the shopping experience 

We know that the typical user spends less time browsing a site on their phone- typically 4 pages less on average- than on a PC.  And the chances are that with less time spent on the site- the user is less likely to find exactly what they are looking for- reducing conversions.

If we invest in optimizing the pages through mobile friendly sites, users will spend more time browsing pages- raising the likelihood of sale conversions.

2. Be obvious with the offers and checkouts

Offers cannot be subtle on a smartphone. The copy and image must be large and clear.

And since there are no mice to click offers on cell phones we need to make the offers easily accessible with the use of a finger.

3. Remind shoppers about offers through Remarketing and with Cart Abandonment emails

The highest conversion rates of all take place with customers who have visited your site, and even better, put products in their carts. Make sure you have a program to remind them of your offerings if they abandon their session.4. Optimize the subject lines on emails

Email is typically accessed on a smartphone that has limited space to display copy. So be sure you engage your users with compelling and lean subject lines that present themselves well on mobile devices. And be sure to use the preview line (below the subject line) to convey more of the message.

The good news is that our smartphones- the devices we have with us at all times- are presenting better user experiences which lead higher usage and conversions. We marketers need to ride this wave by continuing to invest in better experiences and other mobile best practices.

Have questions about your mobile strategy? Contact Tom Boyle at 724.746.5000.