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10% of traffic to ecommerce websites now from mobile: study

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Some 10% of all traffic to ecommerce websites now comes from mobile, a new study has found. But the study found that while users of mobile devices were increasingly likely to browse standard online shops, they were nearly half as likely to engage with the site or to buy.

That suggests that retailers should work to make their ecommerce sites more usable from a mobile, whether that means investing in dedicated m-commerce sites or taking steps to improve the way ecommerce sites are seen over a smartphone or tablet.

The study, from ecommerce agency Screen Pages, studied more than 1.5m visits to more than 30 websites that it has built, using Google Analytics. The company specialises in building sites for niche retail brands, and 56% of the sites in the study were built on Magento.

It found that while 10% of visits to websites came from mobile devices, that proportion rose towards 15% for more upmarket brands. Some 81% of all mobile visits were from Apple devices, with 47% from an iPad and 35% from an iPhone.

However, although the proportion of visits from mobile devices was significant, the study also found that visitors coming to a site through a mobile device viewed 17% fewer pages than those viewing from a PC, while ecommerce conversion rates were 41% lower overall, on average. However, average order values were slightly higher on average, with half of the websites studied showing an increase.

“The commercial message here is clear,” said Roger Willcocks, director of Screen Pages. “If mobiles are 10% of your business and conversions are 40% lower, on a site with 10,000 visits per day with a conversion ratio of 3% and an average order value of £50, mobile usage can represent a loss in revenue of over £300,000.”

It’s therefore important to make sure that visitors coming to a site from a mobile device get a good experience.

Tim Leighton-Boyce, ecommerce analyst at CX Focus, said: “Retailers need to start paying a lot more attention to the mobile experience, starting with email. For example, emails read on mobile devices for one business have increased from 4% to nearly 20% in the last two years. One of the first things to do is to make sure emails are tracked and analysed.

“Next is the bigger and even more important challenge of making sure that the site itself works well on mobile devices. Retailers need to take a long hard look at this. Building a mobile-specific web site has some big advantages because it means that you can decide to strip the site down to the essentials and get rid of the extra clutter which works well on a big screen but makes touch-controlled devices hard to use – but the cost of delivering this may not repay the effort.

“If businesses can’t afford an m.version of their site, they should study their standard site on a mobile device and try to work out where the big problem areas lie, with particular attention to how people to navigate. Small, text based, drop-down menus are not going to appeal. Big, clickable, product images are.”

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