Mobile Retail Brings Profits Home for the Holidays

Peter Roesler, President - Web Marketing Pros

By Peter Roesler

President, Web Marketing Pros

mobile-retailThe holiday shopping season is around the corner, and business owners are trying to find the best way to get a leg up on the competition. Recent research from several e-commerce organizations strongly suggests that mobile e-commerce solutions will be a driving factor in sales this winter. This post will review some of the most recent research about mobile e-commerce and why businesses should embrace “m-commerce” this holiday season.

One reason business owners should embrace the mobile market this holiday season is that mobile sales are growing faster than traditional e-commerce sites. According to a report from comScore, mobile e-commerce is growing twice as fast as traditional e-commerce. Now, one out of every 10 dollars of e-commerce sales comes from either a smartphone or tablet. Forrester estimates that by 2017, mobile payments in the US will reach $90 billion.

Research from eMarketer had similar results. According to their data, e-commerce sales are expected to rise by 15% this holiday season. As for the influence of mobile devices on e-commerce figures, eMarketer concluded that mobile shoppers will accelerate their use of smartphones and tablets to buy products, with an estimated 26 percent of all purchases coming from those devices by 2017.

Not that businesses would have to wait a half decade to see a benefit from adding m-commerce to their sites. According to the comScore report mentioned earlier, mobile e-commerce could reach $25 billion in the US this holiday season.

Another interesting finding from the study is that while smartphone users greatly outnumber tablet users, the average spending per device is 20 percent higher on tablets. The report also showed that the top-ranked categories for mobile retail sales were apparel and accessories, computer hardware, event tickets, and video games. It should be noted that these items are among the most popular gift items.

“While mobile devices are already extremely influential in the overall buying process, they are also beginning to drive a meaningful percentage of digital commerce,” said comScore chairman Gian Fulgoni. “Any channel shift has the potential to be disruptive to established revenue streams, and it would appear that m-commerce [mobile e-commerce] spending has reached enough of a critical mass that key stakeholders must begin to address this new market dynamic today or risk losing competitive advantage.”

The benefit of having a mobile-friendly retail site is not limited to increased sales. Even people who are still shopping at brick and mortar stores are doing more mobile-aided commerce. According to data from the website testing and personalization firm Maxymiser, 58 percent of US smartphone and tablet users research products and prices while they are at or traveling to the physical store.

M-commerce sites are becoming the norm and many business owners have seen an uptick and visits, sales, and new customers. “Mobile users now exceed 14% of our monthly web traffic, many of whom are new visitors,” reports the CEO of one e-commerce website. “This trend is expected to continue and we are committed to supporting this important part of our customers’ ecommerce experience.”

The research shows that the importance of e-commerce has not diminished and in fact, the growing number of users with smartphones and tablets means that e-commerce is will only continue to grow. This Christmas season, researchers believe that more customers will be utilizing mobile e-commerce than ever before. Business owners should make that their e-commerce solutions are mobile friendly. By being an early adopter, businesses can reach customers before their competitors can, so there is an immediate benefit. As time goes on, if current trends continue, smartphones and tablets will become the shopping method of choice for many consumers, so adopting a mobile retail strategy will also benefit an organization in the long run.

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