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Mobile Conversion Isn’t Matching Mobile Traffic – Here’s How Retailers Can Optimize Sales

E-commerce rates are rising across both desktop and mobile, but despite the growth in mobile traffic, sales have not kept pace. According to data from Adobe Analytics, 60% of online shopping visits came from mobile, but only 40% of transactions came from the same source. This gap shows that retailers still have a lot of work to do in order to turn browsers into purchasers.

While both platforms might appear similar at first, the customer journey is actually very different. In order to achieve similar conversion rates on mobile as they do on desktop, retailers have to understand these distinctions and target their marketing and online experience accordingly.

“Mobile shoppers are much more likely to start browsing from clicking through an email promotion, or passing the time scrolling and making more impulse purchases from social ads,” said Olivier Schott, CMO at e-commerce platform Scalefast. “When it comes to desktop shoppers, they’re much more intentional, and more likely to be shopping with a plan & specific products in mind.”

When appealing to an impulsive shopper, brands need to focus on eliminating friction in the checkout journey. Without a plan and a commitment to purchase, impulse shoppers are more likely to abandon their cart before checkout if the process feels laborious or they get distracted by something else. Even the nature of the mobile browser experience makes closing out of a window easier than on desktop.

Schott recommends that retailers also pay attention to how their websites look on a smartphone, versus on a desktop computer. The way shoppers interact with products is different within that smaller format, often prompted by social media advertising or targeted email campaigns; they are likely to focus on a smaller selection of related items.

Mobile payment via internet app illustration. Persons hand holding modern smartphone and putting online paying button on screen with secure sign flat style concept
CREDIT: Nataliya Kalabina - stock.adobe.

“Customers tends to look at fewer products in a mobile shopping session, meaning that the recommendations, featured image and price have to connect with them in fewer clicks (or swipes) than on a desktop,” said Schott. “Something as simple as a slow load time or multi-step checkout can cause that extra delay making a shopper leave the site.”

Merchants should also consider the price point of the items of they sell. When purchasing more expensive items, consumers are more likely to continue their shopping journey onto a second device and be willing to spend more time on the decision making process. This contributes to why desktop sales have higher conversion rates.

Conversely, on mobile, shoppers are more likely to want immediate gratification and if they can’t purchase immediately, might abandon the journey altogether. Brands who offer more affordably-priced goods may therefore want to spend more time enhancing the smartphone experience; these mobile sales will be critical for overall revenue.

Additionally, merchants might want to explore how to entice those shoppers to explore product further on desktop, by increasing personal investment in the product itself. This will be important during the holiday season in particular, when shoppers are likely to spend more than usual on their gift purchasing and want their product immediately – but only if the e-commerce experience is smooth.

“Holiday sales can capitalize on the urgency customers are feeling to buy before an item is sold out, or before it’s too late and their purchase won’t be delivered on time for the holidays,” said Florent Defontis, founder of conversion platform Air360. “This stress makes shoppers buy quicker and can bring about a spike in mobile conversion. But, even though mobile browsers are becoming more likely buyers, desktop will likely always have the advantage when convincing a customer to click ‘pay’.”

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