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Optimised sites and apps convert better than desktop as shoppers become device agnostic, global study concludes

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Mobile optimised sites convert almost three times more than non-optimised ones and, if you can drive people to repeat use of your app, that will convert even better than mobile or PC. And you need to take note: mobile will be the dominant e-commerce platform in the US, UK and much of Asia before the year is out.

These are just some of the findings for the latest Criteo State of Mobile Business 2015 study out today. Based on the transaction data of 3000 of its clients worldwide, the study shows that already mobile is regularly accounting for 30% of ecommerce sales, with 40% of the top quartile of shoppers using it.

And it drives up conversions. Non-optimised websites convert about 1.6%, while optimised is converting 3.4%. More surprisingly, apps convert 1.7 times better than PC websites and more than twice that of mobile websites. If you can get people to the app.

The key is that optimised sites and apps both play to the convenience of the moment and, if they are nicely designed, are so easy to use that they are encouraging people to buy, believes, Jason Morse, VP of Mobile Products at Criteo.

But the biggest challenge retailers face is that cross device usage is now the norm for 41% of shoppers. “Cross-device purchasing is huge. In 40% of purchases, consumers use multiple devices to visit the same retailer prior to purchase,” says Morse. “The trend is similar across all devices, where cross-device transactions are significant irrespective of the purchasing device. This high level of cross-device purchasing shows the need to now match users across devices. Otherwise, it’s difficult to understand the ROI of paid marketing, or deliver a seamless consumer experience.”

What is more surprising still, is that in this multi-device shopping world, the conventional wisdom that shoppers still don’t actually purchase on smartphone appears to be wrong.

“There is a misconception that consumers do not purchase on smartphones,” says Morse. “The data shows that even when researching on a desktop, the purchase occurs on mobile 29% of the time. In fact, the trend to use a second device is very similar across all devices. This reflects the reality that people now use multiple devices throughout the day.”

And this same picture repeats across all global markets. Korea, Japan and UK all lead the way, with mobile commerce way above the 34% global average, but the same trends for better conversion and multi-device use repeat globally. The US is catching up wit the global average at 34%, but still has some way to go.

“Interestingly, the UK has a higher conversion rate than Western countries, due to better usability and consumer experience on mobile websites,” says Morse. “Mobile conversion rates in Japan are more than 3x higher than the US.”

So what does this mean for the future? “We see four big trends,” says Morse. “Growth in mCommerce is unstoppable. By year-end, mobile share of eCommerce transactions is forecast to reach 33% in the US and 40% globally.

“Smartphones will continue to displace slower-growing tablets due to larger available screens. Apple is gaining ground on Android, but both are winners vs. a shrinking desktop.

“Apps are the next frontier: Advertisers will start to significantly invest in their mobile app as a way to drive more conversions than desktop and engage with their loyal customers.

“Finally, dealing with cross-device behavior is the biggest challenge and opportunity for marketers in 2015. With 40% of sales already cross-device, marketers have to talk to users and no longer to devices.”

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