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Mobile drives 2pc of multichannel merchants’ holiday sales: Shopatron

Shopatron’s analysis of multichannel holiday shopping for its 800-plus brand clients from Nov. 17 to Dec. 6 found that mobile represented 2 percent of sales in this period, although based on initial growth data, the company expects mobile sales to double by next holiday season.

Mobile represents about 3 percent of  overall visitor traffic to all of Shopatron merchants’ stores for the period considered. This is below published industry statistics averaging around 5 percent, but Shopatron has some stores with mobile visitor rates as high as 7.5 percent.

“Shopatron operates in over 35 industry verticals, and most of our merchants are specialists in their industry,” said Shaun Moores, Swindon, Britain-based senior vice president of consumer traffic and conversion at Shopatron. “We had expected to see mobile usage centered around niche technology and youth brands.

“In fact, we found that usage tracked uniformly in proportion to general visitor traffic,” he said. “We were also pleased to note that conversion rates in check-out for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch were broadly the same as for desktop visitors.”

This was a baseline study following Shopatron’s rollout of mobile checkout in November. Shopatron’s technology delivers an optimized mobile commerce experience across all of its merchants, almost 1,000 consumer brands.

The company will use the baseline data to measure growth in mobile commerce, which in turn will drive its ongoing investments in the Shopatron platform.

Mobile commerce nascent but growing
Mobile conversion rates are less than Shopatron’s desktop PC check-out rates, which the company expected.

However, the iPad continues to show similar conversion rates to Shopatron’s desktop average in this period, with checkout conversion rates close to 50 percent.
Based on this, Shopatron is considering sending mobile visitors using an iPhone or iPad to its desktop PC checkout portal rather than deliver mobile-optimized content to see what affect this has on conversion.

This study showed that the same clients that saw more visitors on the Web saw more mobile visitors.

This supports the assertion that mobile is not a niche tech-savvy user or only applicable to a younger or lifestyle audience.

Shopatron believes that delivering consumer convenience is the key driver for ecommerce growth.

Convenience has many components, but the fundamentals in the context of Shopatron’s clients are the following, per Mr. Moores:

Consumers want to buy directly from brands because they are the authority on their own products. Many Shopatron consumers are ardent fans of the brand and its values so are excited to expand this loyalty to their mobile device.

Consumers want to see the entire range of products from the manufacturer, including the long-tail product that may not be readily available elsewhere such as specialized parts and accessories.
Consumers want the choice of delivery or pick-up from a local store – whichever is most convenient for them.

They also want to use the mobile shopping experience when they are in-store to do things such as research options, confirm prices and check availability.

“By blending online and offline sales, we believe consumers will use mobile devices to research products and local availability whilst on the move,” Mr. Moores said. “With its network of over 12,000 global retailers, Shopatron is uniquely positioned to deliver local availability and the detailed product data that these consumers will expect.”

Mobile technology allows Shopatron to increase the velocity with which consumers can research and purchase our merchant’s products.

Mr. Moores said it is clear that growth in mobile is prodigious.

“This holiday is also generating a significant expansion of the smartphone and tablet market with the arrival of many new Android and Windows Phone 7 devices,” Mr. Moores said. “With all of this momentum behind it, we expect to see a two-to-three-fold increase in mobile traffic and sales during 2011.

“We will publish quarterly updates to detail our experience in the adoption of mobile commerce and its place in the ecommerce landscape for Shopatron,” he said.

Final Take
Dan Butcher, associate editor, Mobile Commerce Daily