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Retailers have the ability to speed up mobile conversion: report

While mobile is undoubtedly gaining in popularity as a commerce option, retailers still need to work harder to take full advantage of the channel’s opportunity as a new study shows smartphone orders average 35 dollars less than desktop orders.

The research comes from Adobe who analyzed more than 290 billion visits to mobile and desktop sites to find out how actual mobile commerce usage compares to its potential. The survey found that retailers are not maximizing the revenue they could be receiving from mobile users.

“The disconnect right now lies in the experience,” said Matt Asay, vice president of mobile at Adobe Marketing Cloud. “Retailers have grown a sizable mobile audience, but consumer expectations are exceedingly high and it’s not always met.

“This provides an opportunity as well, although it will require a shift in perspective. We frequently see in survey data that consumers look for simplicity and personalization when it comes to mobile, and retailers have to pinpoint ways to deliver on that.”

Mobile vs. desktop
In seeking to discern the exact disparity between the potential for mobile commerce and its actual usage, Adobe sifted through data from billions of site interactions across mobile and desktop to hundreds of thousands of sites. This data was collected from Adobe’s Marketing Cloud which accounts for $7.50 of every ten dollars spent online.

That gives the company an incredibly large dataset to analyze.

What they found was that while mobile usage is increasing every year at a rate significantly higher than other channels, the transactions made on mobile are averaging much lower revenue.

In other words, people are starting to shop on mobile more but they are spending less.

Mobile shoppers were also less likely to actually purchase an item once they had placed it in their shopping carts. Twenty-six percent of desktop shoppers purchased an item after placing it in their online carts compared to 16 percent of mobile users.

Overall, there is an opportunity here for retailers to earn extra revenue by optimizing the mobile shopping experience and capitalizing on the increasing use of mobile to visit retail sites and make purchasing decisions. If done properly, mobile as a retail companion can become a retail necessity.

Opportunity strikes
Retailers should not be discouraged by these numbers or see them as evidence that mobile is not as viable as a commerce tool as desktop. Instead, retailers should take this as a sign that there is room for growth in their use of mobile and an untapped potential waiting to be used.

Mr. Asay from Adobe laid out three steps that retailers need to take to make mobile work better for them.

First, retailers need to understand that mobile is vital to the survival and future prosperity of their business. They cannot treat it as a secondary priority, it must be worked into the fabric of the company.

Secondly, retailers need to forget many of the things that held true for desktop commerce and think about mobile as its own channel and not just a downsized desktop. If they are porting over the exact same strategies they used for their desktop site to mobile, they are not taking full advantage of mobile’s unique capabilities.

Finally, retailers will have to be able to engage customers contextually and find them in the moment when they are most likely to make a purchase. Location technology can help with this – something that only mobile can truly take advantage of.

If these steps are followed, Adobe believes that mobile can catapult retailers beyond the competition who have not made proper use of the channel. The numbers from this report may seem discouraging, but they should spark a fire in retailers around the country to make better use of the newest and most ubiquitous channel

“Although the numbers highlight the challenges facing retailers on mobile, this report is really about opportunity,” Mr. Asay said. “What we see now is that brands must design and deliver great experiences across every consumer touch point, especially one growing as quickly as mobile.

“Retailers have an opportunity to transform the shopping experience and engage on a channel where shoppers are spending more and more of their time on.”