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Deloitte exec says focusing on mobile conversions sends retailers down wrong path …

NEW YORK – A Deloitte executive at Mobile Marketer’s Mobile FirstLook: Strategy 2015 conference said that mobile commerce’s impact is actually bigger than perceived.

During the “State of Mobile Retail and Mobile Commerce” session, the executive discussed Deloitte’s recent findings in mobile commerce trends that were initiated in 2011. These findings have caused Deloitte executives to believe that since mobile usage is driving in-store sales, measuring mobile commerce results in skewed numbers, because it is not given enough credit.

“Clearly, mobile commerce is a growth vehicle,” said Kasey Lobaugh, chief retail innovation officer, Deloitte. “It is driving a lot of growth in and of itself.”

“We see that conversion rates are higher on laptops compared to mobile,” he said. “I heard through the holiday that ‘mobile traffic was through the roof, but conversion isn’t any good, so we’re not going to invest in mobile because it’s not that valuable,’ but that’s a flawed way to look at it.

“We found consumers that are using digital in stores are converting at a 40 percent higher rate than consumers that are not using digital. If they’re using your app while in-store, their conversion rate is even higher.”

There is a lack of consensus in the industry over the value of measuring mobile conversions. For another point of view from the Mobile FirstLook conference, see this story.

Going higher
Deloitte researchers sought to prove the real value of mobile in its study and measure mobile in terms of its influence in stores.

Consumers are using their smartphones as the primary device while they are shopping in stores, and before entering stores, they have most likely done initial research on a laptop and less often on a mobile device.

Deloitte found that even though shoppers are, at this time, not prominently “pressing the buy button” on their mobile devices, the mobile channel is still crucial to the buying process.

The consulting company also found that 84 percent of shoppers use digital tools while they are shopping. It is predicted that mobile commerce sales will amount to $133 billion in 2018.

Meanwhile, consumers are less likely to reach out to a store associate before doing research on their devices. In fact, shoppers searching for certain products, including baby items, home improvement, health and beauty and shoes, actually prefer to shop without an associate.

Seventy-six percent of consumers shopping for baby items prefer to shop without an associate.

Furthermore, Deloitte selected a handful of digital trends expected to grow, including that mobile will play an advanced role of an in-store assistant, sensors will enable more personalized shopping experiences, mobile will cause shopping to be increasingly social, advertising will become more interactive and, perhaps most importantly, mobile will become an integrated part of sales enablement.

Looking forward
To launch into mobile, retailers are starting to recognize that all digital channels work in concert, and they are making changes that are disruptive to their businesses.

Mr. Lobaugh believes these marketers are worried about taking the eye off the ball while making these changes, and they are not sure how to manage the two together.

Still, low conversion rates on mobile, which are predicted to only rise, should not deter marketers from investing in mobile.

“You’re measuring it wrong, because you’re measuring it based on where someone presses the buy button,” Mr. Lobaugh said. “Why do you care whether someone is making a transaction in stores or on a tablet?

“As long as people are converting at a higher rate, that’s a good thing,” he said.

Final Take
Caitlyn Bohannon is an editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York