Going Mobile with Online Retail

Thursday, March 11, 2010 | 10:00 AM

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The increasing rate at which consumers are adopting internet-enabled mobile devices and the proliferation of smart phones has caused content providers to increase not only the breadth of mobile media offerings but also the level of interactivity and utility. In March 2008, Forrester Research predicted that 125 million Western Europeans will have access to internet-enabled mobile devices by 2013 [1], and according to eMarketer 34% of smartphone users have used web search, as opposed to 12% of total mobile phone users [2]. Out of total Retail Google quires 7% are now coming through mobile devices and are growing 100% YoY[3]. These figures are impressive. As this growth trend continues, media providers, e-commerce players and other publishers must adjust to the changing reality and optimise user experience accordingly. There are a few things that online retailers could do today to accommodate changes in mobile landscape.

1. Optimise your landing page for mobile in order to improve consumer experience and facilitate browsing on your site. Use webmaster tools to optimise your website to the m. format. . Whenever a user requests Google.com on a smart phone, we serve an optimised m.google.com webpage. Google has topped a list of top 10 UK mobile website ranked by unique users [3], and driving traffic from the engine to an optimised site, may result in improved conversion rate.

2. Take advantage of Geo targeting on mobile in order to drive relevant, localised customers to your site. This option can be particularly successful for Retailers offering Click and Collect services. In addition, eMarketer [4] predicts roaming charges to come down, which will allow consumers to more easily navigate to retail stores while abroad.

3. One effective way to understand whether mobile is a beneficial acquisition channel and the behaviour of mobile consumers for a given brand, product or service, is to separate desktop and mobile AdWords campaigns. This set-up will allow you to optimise your keyword base for mobile searches as users search differently on mobile. Mobile queries are much shorter and more generic due to limitation posed by the size of the device. According to Nielsen Ratings as cited by eMarketer [5], click through rates in mobile retail can be very high therefore more customised, personal ads may provide a further boost to CTR and conversions.

4. If relevant, use Click-to-call in your mobile ads or carrier target your ads, should you prefer to target users that use a specific mobile phone network.

With Amazon recently launching service to allow purchases from other websites using their Amazon credentials, the proliferation of m-commerce might happen sooner than expected [6]. M-commerce popularity has been studied by Motorola in 11 countries, where 51% of consumers using mobile phones during the Christmas holiday for comparison shopping, reviews, product information as well as coupons. This percentage was 64% amongst younger shoppers [7]. December saw a spike in Google queries, as people were likely to be comparing prices between Online and High Street [8].

Not unlike other channels, mobile campaigns require testing. We recommend starting your mobile campaign early so that you are equipped with robust performance data to facilitate a more informed response to user browsing habits as usage of smart phone continues to grow. Understanding mobile browsing behaviour and propensity to convert should help you optimise mobile campaigns for peak times such as Mother’s Day, Easter or any other relevant seasonal peak as well as to your target demographic.

We hope that you found these tips useful. Please email us if you have any questions or feedback.

[1] eMarketer March 2009 and April 2009
[2] eMarketer – UK Mobile Internet. February 2009
[3] Google Internal
[4] eMarketer – UK Mobile Internet. February 2009
[5] eMarketer – UK Mobile Internet. February 2009
[6] Online Media Daily. Amazon Extends Payment Service to Mobile Devices
[7] M-retailing. from Internet Retailing Multichannel - 2010/1/18
[8] Google Internal