Mobile-first isn’t a thing of 2017...
During the 2015 holiday season, nearly 70% of Amazon customers used a mobile device to make a purchase. I repeat, 70% of nearly 310 million people on Amazon that year made a purchase from their mobile phone. That goes past the point of search intent and right to the ‘need this’, ‘want this’, ‘gotta have this’. So how exactly does this influence the current state of commerce as we grow even more attached to our mobile devices?
Before we strap on our tin-foil hats and claim monster online services are taking over the world, let’s remember Amazon has the advantage of their open marketplace. Here people can shop across a multitude of stores for smaller-need items like grocery, in-the-moment purchases, while on the move, or caught in a leisurely scroll before bed. All of this aids to the ‘gotta have it’ thinking that influences their large customer base to whip out their phones when the urge to shop strikes, and the timing of the holiday shopping season, one can easily see how these mobile purchasing numbers can grow quickly and in Amazon’s favor.
How common is shopping by mobile, really?
For the rest of the Amazon billionaire have-nots, let’s take a quick look at a wider, more recent view outside of just Amazon purchases. Data pulled from Google Analytics between the months of June through September 2017 shows over 40% of online transactions were made on mobile devices. This easy-to-use purchase system that Amazon has introduced to its broad marketplace of shoppers has clearly influenced people to seek more hand-held shopping opportunities. Blurring the lines between online and offline for all commerce shops as customers are trained to become more and more comfortable with on-the-go shopping.
So mobile phones are, in reality, what is taking over the world. However, many commerce stores still have a website that shrinks to work on mobile. On the list of need-to-know digital words and phrases, right under ‘The Internet of Things’ you will find ‘responsive’. Responsive design, responsive layout, responsiveness. It sounds like an easy-enough solution for those with independent online shops who want to grow into the m-commerce space. Though, it takes much more than that as proven by the same Google research which shows 73% of consumers will leave a poorly designed mobile shop for an alternative that makes purchasing easier.
Customers are moving from die-hard allegiance to convenience...
Amazon understands that mobile is the next level in commerce, and places a large focus on their user journey, or what they call ‘user obsession’. Their focus and saturation should act as a thermometer for the more independent online shops as the habit of hand-held commerce has trickled into a broader commerce marketplace. For those of us who aren’t Amazon, this trend creates a mobile-first market that cares less and less about brand loyalty and more about convenience.
This shift has consequences, both good and bad. So it’s easy to understand why not all shops are excited about the idea of focusing time and budget to have an easy mobile experience if you do not happen to be in the market of ‘easy, need-right-now’ items. However, this mindset may soon be forced to shift as mobile saturation is becoming an ever-increasing reality. According to the GSMA, 84% of the overall population in Europe, that’s nearly 457 million people and growing, subscribed to a mobile phone service by mid-2017. Generation Y homes in North America even have a mobile saturation of 91%, as shown by Forrester. It is a safe bet to conclude that desktop is no longer the only medium that a brand or business should work to have influence.
What have we learned today?
When questioning if mobile is the next step for your brand, remember mobile phones are more than just a device. They have turned into our pocket-sized electronic life partners. Companions who show their love by keeping our lives running smoothly from the morning alarm to cataloging our selfies. If you’re in the business of commerce, it’s time to seriously start thinking about creating more mobile-focused capabilities that are rooted in ease-of-use, and beyond responsive site design.