You can thank mobile for finally killing off the linear customer purchasing journey. Thanks largely to smartphones, consumers now behave like pinballs bouncing between devices and channels multiple times on their path to conversion. The big challenge for ecommerce businesses is keeping their eye on the ball as it ricochets around the sales funnel, joining up the actions and experiences of individual shoppers along their fragmented journey so they can be nurtured to a sale.
Mobile has rapidly become the online shopper’s ‘cradle of convenience,’ to use a phrase recently coined by Salesforce. To put mobile ecommerce traffic growth into context, in 2017, 35% of all ecommerce sales were converted on mobile, and this figure is expected to rise to 54% by 2021.
What’s even more interesting is the role that mobile currently plays in the customer journey leading up to conversion. While 35% of sales are converted on mobile, 60% of all e-commerce traffic is driven by smartphone. The discrepancy between mobile conversion rates and overall mobile traffic shows just how complex the multi-device customer journey has become.
We know that consumers prefer the convenience of mobile, which enables them to slot online shopping, browsing and research into their busy day as they sit on the train, wait in line for a coffee or kill time between appointments. At other times of the day, at lunch for example, if they’re seated at their desk, they’re more likely to switch to desktop and continue that buying journey where they previously left off.
The challenge for retailers is connecting those journeys. Since cookies are only viable on a per-device basis (and for a limited amount of time), if a consumer switches between a smartphone, desktop and tablet there’s no conventional way for retailers to consolidate these fractured insights into a single view. The result is that online retailers don’t have clear sight of who they are selling to or where they are in their shopping journey. This makes it impossible to deliver the personalised customer experiences that shoppers crave, and which ultimately increases conversion rates, repeat purchases and average order value.
The other big problem is that the consumer is forced to start their journey from scratch every time they switch to a new device, meaning the sales funnel gets increasingly leaky. This dilemma means that forward-thinking retailers are increasingly using solutions based on unique identifiers, like email addresses, to spot and identify prospects. This information enables them to start understanding their customer’s digital footprint, where they are in the sales funnel and, therefore, their level of intent.
This opens up a whole new world of possibilities for retailers. For example, they can ensure the latest basket information is visible to shoppers as they switch between devices, providing a far more integrated journey and reducing the chance of basket abandonment. Previous browsing behaviour on other devices can also be taken into account when generating triggered emails, making recommendations and offering discounts and incentives.
Consolidating data about customers’ digital behaviour, such as clicks, hovers and other online actions, across several devices also helps retailers determine where customers are in their shopping journey, allowing them to serve messaging that is most relevant to each individual customer.
With a much clearer picture of the customer’s behaviour, regardless of being logged in, brands can deliver intent-based messages on-site and via email across sessions and devices. Where it becomes incredibly powerful, is the ability for brands to then use triggered email as a top 5 channel by opening up the highest converting email to not only current customers but also prospects, therefore making it a powerful customer acquisition channel.
Mobile may have made the ecommerce customer’s purchasing journey significantly more complex, but retailers willing to invest in the latest identification solutions stand to open up a treasure trove of opportunities to market to people rather than cookies and boost sales conversions.