If this past Christmas season is any indication, more e-commerce shoppers are leaving their computers in favor of their mobiles and tablets. According to a recent report that was published in Business Insider, over 20% of the e-commerce spending carried out on Black Friday in the United States was conducted from mobile devices. Driving the point further, shoppers who converted as mobile visitors made up nearly 40% of the overall traffic visiting the online retailers on the day that the malls are generally filled to the brim before Cyber Monday. These numbers are too significant for merchants to ignore and force them to consider how to better address mobile shoppers when designing platforms to offer a better experience.
Lean In vs. Lean Back
Market researchers have begun to notice a significant difference between the way that consumers interact with their computers as compared to their mobile devices. In particular, at a talk at the mCommerce Summit in New York back in 2011, eBay Mobile Vice President Steve Yankovich pointed out how shoppers have been found to use their computers in a ‘Lean in’ capacity, meaning that they sit down with a purpose of performing some kind of action. This could be to either to work on a project, to make pre-planned payment or do something else that requires focus. For retailers, this type of interaction means that the shopper more likely knows what they are looking for and is less open to new possibilities. Yankovich’s findings are backed up by an AOL consumer research study back in October 2013 that found that shoppers are 62% more likely to make a purchase when at their computers when they are intent on buying.
So where is the game changer in all of this that merchants need to pay attention to? Enter the tablet. The introduction of the iPad has served to bring about a whole new way that shoppers interact with retailers. Put simply, where as the computer is used with a direct purpose, the iPad is meant for relaxing on the couch or in bed. Think about how the device is held. The user can ‘lean back’ and flip through the pages while their browsing in a much freer form of engagement that makes them more open to what they are viewing.
While mobile traffic appears to be driving a majority of the mobile traffic with 63% of Americans owning smartphones, tablet users (35%) are definitely a target for retailers. Tablet owners are generally wealthier and are more likely to be inclined to make impulse buys due to the ‘lean back’ nature of their browsing experience.
Cross Platform Movement
An important element that was identified in the same AOL study pointed to the fact that those shoppers who used their tablets for browsing are far more likely to be utilizing multiple platforms to perform their purchases. According to the results of the survey, 88% used their computers as a part of the process, while another 49% also used their smartphones in the steps leading up to making the buy. This point really serves to highlight the necessity of merchants to take measures to compliment the cross platform nature of their customers. This means developing sites that flow comfortably from one point to the next.
One example of how this has been done is the shopping comparison service PriceGong. Users of their browser-based add-on can move seamlessly through to their mobile app, which was launched in December 2013. The guys at PriceGong understood that they need to be easily available to shoppers wherever they may be, and that the interactions are more likely than not to move from one platform to the next as they look to make their purchase.
Adjusting to Mobile
Browsing on a tablet should be a fun experience filled with interactions. Users should want to explore what you have built into your site with dynamic features that differ drastically from the drabber computer browser experience. Developers should not be afraid to step away from the structure of their browser site and create something that while recognizable to the user, presents them with a whole new experience. Take into account the multiple benefits offered by the five finger interactions of the mobile or tablet, and how they differ from the keyboard and mouse set up.
Make your mobile sites easy to interact with. Adjusting your UX and UI appropriately to make the shopping experience easy to carry out is essential to your ability to improve conversions. Nobody wants to struggle moving through your website, so consider how and where you place the elements on your mobile pages.