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Mobile comes of age – again

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I feel I have been here before: sales on mobile finally overtaking desktop. While that all-important tipping point between the two has been called many times before, it seems that with the latest figures suggesting tipping has occurred, we can conclude that we probably are witnessing the balance between mobile and desktop shifting towards to mobile.

The figures from Adyen are global and suggest that sales through mobile now account for 52% of all ecommerce sales. Based on payment data, it probably does reflect an accurate picture of sales.

What it doesn’t show is how many carts were abandoned and how many people started their journey on mobile but never finished. What the Adyen data actually tells us is that mobile is playing an ever-more central role in retail. If sales are at 52% through the channel, then it is likely that more people than ever are using mobile as part of their shopping process.

And this is the real story: shoppers are becoming more mobile at all stages of the shopping process and this is why mobile is going to play a massively significant role from here on in.

Ahead of Black Friday and the run of shopping frenzy that it kicks off, catering to mobile is now more important than ever. This Black Friday, 40million marketing texts will be sent, offering deals. This will continue in the run up to Christmas predicts Textlocal. In fact, mobile marketing is going to play a huge role in this year’s festivities, delivering a massive boost to sales.

In fact, figures from Google that show that 70% of customers purchasing in-store used their smart phones for research before the purchase and that mobiles have overtaken desktops and tablets as devices used for e-commerce, now accounting for 60% of all e-commerce visits. Despite these findings, only 50% of businesses surveyed are currently using SMS marketing as part of their marketing strategies.

Even on Christmas Day, many tipsy, bored, dissatisfied shoppers will also be reaching for their mobiles to buy stuff. And is it any wonder? The smartphone has been voted the most significant piece of technology in the past 25 years.

But lack of understanding of mobile optimisation and how people use mobile – actually how people use the web in general – is costing retailers dear. Unoptimised and poorly designed sites are costing millions in sluggish behaviour. And this is going to become really apparent on Black Friday, Cyber Monday and up to Christmas.

It isn’t a case of testing sites using my granny’s old dial up, site load speeds are in crisis. While many sites may load reasonably quickly right now, they are already running at their maximum bandwidth. The added pressure from high traffic levels are going to slow them down and see many shoppers abandoning sites that don’t immediately satisfy.

This is where the mobile ideal falls down – and why Adyen’s stats are so significant. Mobile is managing to carry more than 50% of global ecommerce sales despite the fact that many shoppers abandon the mobile path to use online or even the store to make the final purchase. Just think how good m-commerce could be with fast websites, excellent networks and all the pain-points removed.

And just think how smoothly Black Friday would go if it all worked smoothly on mobile? Now there’s a thought for today. Good luck.

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