This reporter has made the prediction (not exactly going out on a limb) that mobile will be a bigger and bigger part of the holiday shopping experience as the years go on. As it turns out, judging by the recently released numbers reported by Mobile Marketer, that prediction was right on the money. ChannelAdvisor reported that for the days November 1st-15th the percentage of consumers that visited retail sites driven by search via mobile was just under 26%. A year ago that number was just under 13%. That’s quite the jump.
Many will wonder what the individual drivers for mobile shopping are. Marci Troutman of SiteMinis Inc states that “Comparison shopping, checking inventory, coupons and values, social media postings and store locators are likely to be some of the most popular ways that consumers will use mobile during the holiday season.”
It should also be noted that in the same time that mobile usage is climbing, desktop pc usage for shopping is on the downfall. The percentage of traffic from pc sites has dropped from just above 84% to just above 74%. People simply want to be able to shop no matter where they are – not just the store or computer den.
Davis Wood, Senior Account Manager, SiteMinis Inc
Mobile traffic jumps in advance of holiday season start
By Chantal Tode
November 26, 2012
Mobile traffic is already up significantly
The evidence is already accumulating that mobile will play a bigger role during the holidays this year, with retailers seeing significant increases in mobile traffic even before the holiday shopping season officially got underway.
ChannelAdvisor reports that mobile accounted for 25.8 percent of the traffic to retail sites driven by search between Nov. 1-15, up from just 12.6 percent during the same period a year ago. The increase in mobile traffic started even earlier for some retailers with CVS.com reporting that mobile Web visits increased 17 percent from September to October while CVS mobile app sessions increased 42 percent during the same period.
“Most retailers should anticipate on a conservative side a 10 percent increase in mobile traffic year-over-year, and on the high side over 20 percent just by being in the mobile space with their brand as mobile continues to grow and social media grows,” said Marci Troutman, CEO of SiteMinis, Atlanta.
“Comparison shopping, checking inventory, coupons and values, social media postings and store locators are likely to be some of the most popular ways that consumers will use mobile during the holiday season,” she said.
The numbers reflect the growing penetration of smartphones as well as the fact that consumers are using their mobile devices for a growing array of shopping-related activities.
According to ChannelAdvisor, during the first half of November smartphones accounted for 13.8 percent of the traffic driven to retail sites while tablets accounted for 12 percent, up from 7.2 percent and 5.4 percent, respectively, last year.
In absolute numbers, mobile traffic is up 300 percent.
Traffic from PCs dropped to 74.2 percent from 87.4 percent during the same period a year ago.
The increase in mobile traffic means retailers need to be prepared with a strategy to insure that they continue to deliver a fast experience, even on the busiest shopping days during the holiday season. This may mean avoiding redirections as much as possible and reducing the number of separate domains on a page.
Dealing with fragmentation
Retailers also need to insure that they deliver an optimal experience for as wide an array of devices as possible. This can be a challenge because of the significant fragmentation that exists in the mobile space.
One way for retailers to deal with this fragmentation is to test performance against a selection of devices that represent different versions of popular operating systems as well as varying screen resolutions and other features that may affect how their mobile experience is delivered.
The early numbers indicate that, whether retailers are prepared or not, mobile is going to play a significant role in the holiday shopping experience this year.
“Smart retailers and brands are using mobile to incorporate into their traditional marketing, in-store signing, heavier use of mobile banner ads with clearer calls-to-action on the banner landing page,” Ms. Troutman said. “Another way that they have done it well is by increasing the number of consumers that opt into their texting campaigns, join their social groups for updates, and join companies’ loyalty programs.
“There is more adaption of using mobile coupons at the point-of-sale register, making coupons much more portable and usable by the consumer in store,” she said. “Lastly, companies have gotten better at organizing mobile throughout their organization, as part of their basic consumer touch points.”