Several shopping trends are already emerging from this year's high season. Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday US e-commerce sales increased by a healthy 20 percent over last year, according to Comscore. But the big story is that US e-commerce on mobile has increased by as much as 50 percent.
Tellingly, most of the increase in mobile sales has gone to the largest retailers. Mid-market brands and retailers have struggled to get sales from mobile.
Mid-market brands and retailers have struggled to get sales from mobile.
According to Adobe, US retailers by more than $ 1 billion in annual online revenue increased their share of mobile e-commerce by 11 percent on Black Friday. They also converted smartphone browsers to buyers who were 66 percent higher than retailers with less than $ 50 million online sales. This is a worrying trend given that 63 percent of US US e-commerce traffic for 2019 has been on mobile devices, according to Adobe.
In this post, I will address what has gone wrong for intermediary traders.
Happy (mobile) vacation
Consumers are constantly using the mobile as the main shopping device. The rapid growth in mobile conversions this holiday season is slowing the trend in recent years. Mobile shopping is now commonplace and brands and retailers cannot afford to ignore it.
Mobile conversions still remain significant on the desktop due to the sub-optimal mobile shopping experiences on many e-commerce sites that have not used a mobile-first strategy.
The "mobile-first" concept is not new. Many retailers adopted responsive design, which usually resizes desktop experiences to fit mobile screens. It's not mobile-first. It's a compromise based on the desktop.
But keyboard and mouse desktop trading doesn't usually change well. It needs to be retested for smaller screens and finger inputs. The drop-down menus, radio buttons, facets and filters, category trees, registration and checkout all give a bad experience as they shrink from a desk.
Where merchants have used a mobile-first strategy, especially with apps, the conversion rate often exceeds that of desktop. If they make it easy for consumers to shop at their preferred unit, salespeople will sell more and the experience is, overall, much simpler.
But this year I have seen middlemen hesitate to go mobile first. They know that they should focus on mobile. But often their operations are squeezed and the margins are narrow. This year's holiday data indicates that compelling mobile experiences are a must.
The good news is that mobile apps are no longer prohibitively expensive to build and maintain. Merchants can literally produce a mobile app from a modern trading platform at the push of a button. iOS? Android? Progressive web app? Just select the box and press distribute. Modern trading platforms now support native distributions on mobile and desktop, allowing merchants to build an experience and distribute and optimize on many devices.
This modern approach provides a mobile-optimized experience over the customer's preferred device without costing the merchant an arm and a leg. Add support for purchases with a print, in the form of, for example, Apple Pay, Google Pay or PayPal, and you will have an experience that will hit desktop for most product categories. Today, most middle-market brands and retailers do not yet support Apple Pay or Google Pay.
The checkout with one-touch purchase on mobile is much faster than checking on the desktop. Payment, billing and shipping information is already on the unit for unregistered and registered visitors. It's transformative. To illustrate, I recorded the video below during a purchase session with the click of a button.
The New Battleground
Amazon, Walmart and Target all have rich mobile experiences based on both embedded and progressive web apps. And that's my point. It's not one or the other. You need both. They each appeal to different consumer segments.
Original apps can give the best customers the most intuitive and richest shopping experience. However, Native apps require a download, where progressive web apps come in. PWAs offer an application experience in a web browser. This method serves shoppers who are not engaged enough to download an app but still require a rich experience of swiping, pinching and buying with one touch.
For many years, e-commerce sales have been consolidated with the largest retailers. It is not healthy for consumers or the industry. That trend looks set to continue this year.
But the new battlefield is based on small screens. When it comes to planning for 2020, mobile has to be the highest priority.