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Mobile commerce deep dive

All the trends, stats and best practices retailers need to know

Mobile commerce (or m-commerce) is the beating heart of today’s retail customer journey. Handsets are where most online purchases happen, and mobile shopping is going to get bigger before it's done.

Here at the start of 2021, smartphones are everywhere. Does anyone leave home without one?

As a matter of fact, people feel separation anxiety whenever their phone is out of sight. Did you know that on average we spend half a working day tapping away at touch screens?

A lot of that tapping is devoted to buying the stuff we love. Whether it's browsing virtual aisles on the train to work, or contacting customer service to start a return, mobile commerce is here to stay.

So what are the implications of all this for retailers and ecommerce stores? Let’s take a closer look at just how big mobile commerce is and how it’s impacting our buying decisions and the way we do business.

What is mobile commerce?

When most people talk about m-commerce, they mean e-commerce on mobile devices. M-commerce is just a subset of e-commerce: buying something online, but with a mobile device instead of a desktop computer. They’re the same, but different.

Mobile commerce vs. ecommerce? If you’ve ever bought something using a smartphone, you’ll know that mobile purchasing can have its quirks when it isn’t completely designed with a mobile user in mind.

As the screen is smaller, shoppers expect an intuitive and different journey from product selection to payment. The gestures you use to get things done should be different, and so should the information you have access to. Try tapping characters into fields on a small screen.

As mobile users are often on the go, getting things done should be easy and uncluttered. Too much complexity and you risk losing sales.

Still, despite all those potential drawbacks, mobile commerce is rapidly embedding itself as the online shopping norm. More than 70 percent of web traffic now comes from mobile devices.

Globally, mobile shopping is a 700 billion dollar industry.

What mobile commerce means for retail marketers

Mobile commerce has been beating traditional desktop e-commerce traffic since at least 2017, so you’d expect retail e-commerce roles to evolve the same way.

Today’s e-commerce managers should be focused on mobile. But so far it doesn’t seem to be happening.

How come ecommerce teams are still more focussed on desktop sales than mobile?
Mobile’s second place finish in the conversion sweepstakes is probably to blame.

Even though mobile commerce rules web traffic, for many brands that don’t put mobile first, mobile visits turn into sales at about half the rate of desktop visits. No matter what’s happening on handsets, e-commerce managers can be forgiven for focusing on the channels that drive sales most frequently.

Why mobile commerce is important

There’s a lot for ecommerce teams to play for. 70% of traffic is more than half your business. By doing mobile right, ecomm teams can significantly improve their growth. Especially in 2021, with the pandemic ending not in sight, mobile should be the #1 focus. Order via mobile or mobile app and pick up in store and other ways to make the lives of shoppers easier.

Get in touch with JMango360 if you have questions.

How mobile commerce is changing UX

There’s been an obvious behavioural shift that’s driving consumers to reach for their smartphones first when they have an impulse to buy. Swiping and scrolling are rapidly replacing browsing and strolling through retail shop aisles.

So mobile commerce is not only shaping new customer expectations, but it’s also transforming user experience (UX). As the rules of UX get reinvented, so does user interface design.

In other words, you have to get UX right or risk huge declines in mobile revenue and conversion. And great mobile UX takes more than a great mobile website. Even the best mobile-responsive web technology can’t meet the design standards set by the Amazons and Ubers of this world.

Many retailers and ecommerce teams don’t realize enough that bad mobile shopping experiences can’t be shrugged off. A poor purchase journey can crush conversion and have longer term implications too.

Surveys have shown that 65% of online shoppers will push back when they encounter a sub-optimal mobile shopping experience. And it gets worse; forty per cent will be less likely to come back. And thirty percent of shoppers say they will immediately bounce off to another company’s mobile site or app to find what they want.

To protect revenues and avoid negative sentiment, retailers need to examine their mobile channel mix and adjust the design based on user needs.

Mobile commerce statistics

But enough talk, let’s see some stats. Just how big is mobile commerce in 2021 and onwards? Mobile commerce already has desktop e-commerce on the back foot, and COVID-19 has accelerated the trend.

- 01 M-commerce sales could reach $2.91 trillion next year
That would represent a 25.4% leap from 2019, when mobile commerce sales reached $2.32 trillion globally.

- 02 70% of mobile searches lead to action in 60 minutes or less
Mobile shoppers reward great shopping experiences with fast buying decisions. Desktop users can take up to a month.

- 03 Mobile will overtake desktop in terms of total sales in 2021
2021 will see the tipping point where more shopping happens on smartphones than PC screens. E-marketer predicts mobile commerce will account for 54% of total ecommerce by the end of next year.

- 04 Almost 90 percent of mobile users’ time is spent on apps
In the competition between mobile web browsers and mobile apps, research shows that apps win hands down. They capture a full 90 percent of users' time.

Mobile commerce trends to look out for in 2021

How can retailers be mobile first? Here are the most important mobile commerce trends for 2021 to help you prepare and adapt accordingly.

- 01 More mobile shopping will happen on mobile apps
As far back as 2018, 85% of consumers said they prefered mobile apps to mobile websites. Today the sales results bear them out. App sessions convert 157% more than mobile website sessions.

- 02 One-click becomes standard
Manually entering payment and address information on the small screen of a mobile device is tedious. That's one reason why cart abandonment rates are so high. One-click ordering virtually eliminates the checkout process.

- 03 Social shopping continues to grow
Social shopping via the m-commerce features on popular apps like Instagram will continue to grow in popularity. A recent study suggests that brands using Instagram shopping have benefited from a 1,416% traffic boost and a 20% increase in revenue.

- 04 Mobile voice shopping finds its feet
Last year, voice shopping gained a foothold in the ecommerce market. By 2022 it's expected to drive $40 billion in sales. That’s up from a modest $2 billion in 2018, which is a 1,900% increase in just four years.

Where do mobile commerce apps fit in?

In the past, the decision to invest in a mobile app might have been a simple yes, no, or ‘maybe later’. Today it’s a matter of when, not if.

Mobile shoppers have high expectations, set by their experiences with popular apps like Uber and Netflix. Because users are so sensitive to the flow, a well-designed mobile app improves UX and will boost conversions. Mobile apps are designed based on the mobile demands and behaviour of people, where mobile sites are desktop sites but resized to fit the small screens.

In fact, a study by Criteo found that mobile apps make purchases three times more efficient than the same transaction on a mobile website.

By smoothing the mobile purchase journey you can reduce shopping cart abandonment, which tends to happen at the point where customers are asked to enter data. Did you know that over 90 percent of mobile website shoppers reach this point and then abandon their purchase? Typing credit card details or logging in when you're on the move is just too awkward.

A mobile commerce app removes these barriers. One-touch checkouts use info that’s already stored in the user’s phone, or make use of biometric info like a thumbprint or Apple Face ID — adding another level of convenience. Other features like push notifications, triggered by a special date or order in app, pick up in store, direct chat, barcode scanners, and VR.

It’s a lot to take in, but the basic message is unmistakable: 2021 will be the year mobile commerce asserts its position as the dominant retail e-commerce channel.

Get in touch with JMango360 if you have questions, or need help building the mobile commerce business case.

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