Ready or Not: Here Comes Mobile E-Commerce
Test and Monitor | Posted June 28, 2013

The mobile Web continues to establish itself as an everyday part of our lives and as a result mobile commerce initiatives have moved to the forefront of many online retailer’s growth plans. Today, mobile purchases account for more than one in ten e-commerce dollars; by 2017 it has been projected that m-commerce will make up 25% of all e-commerce transactions accounting for $87 billion in sales. A fully integrated and well-executed m-commerce experience will be critical to the success of online retailers in the coming years, if not the coming months.

Why M-Commerce Is Important

2012 was rightfully crowned the “year of mobile,” as global mobile data traffic grew by 70%.  Average smartphone usage grew 81% and 4G connections generated 19 times more traffic than non-4G connections. Mobile network connection speeds more than doubled, as did the number of mobile-connected tablets lending considerable credence to the prediction that mobile data traffic will increase thirteen-fold by 2017. Perhaps most importantly, these growth rates have shown no signs of slowing down as we cross the halfway mark of 2013.

These numbers plainly underscore the importance of the mobile landscape going forward, especially with regards to e-commerce and online retailers. Organizations falling into these categories will undoubtedly feel the effects as much, if not more, than any other vertical as the mobile Web continues to develop. As users continue to engage with brands, websites and one another via mobile channels it’s only logical that they will increasingly leverage their mobile devices to make purchases and recommend products with greater frequency.

These trends translate into significant potential revenue for your company. Ensuring an engaging mobile experience now sets the stage for an effective, scalable m-commerce strategy that will allow you to tap into this growing market and stay ahead of the mobile curve.

Measuring the Mobile Shopping Experience

There are a number of elements that go into creating a positive m-commerce experience, however, the overall goal should be to create a mobile offering that comes as close to reproducing your regular e-commerce features as possible. This is primarily achieved through two key mobile site characteristics; how you display your product information and the ease with which customers can complete a purchase on their mobile device.

Product Information: The ability to view product information is extremely important; 84% of m-commerce users failed to complete their intended purchases when the desired product information failed to properly load. Including and displaying an adequate product description within your mobile page is paramount to capturing the sale; a significant challenge given today’s wide range of mobile devices and screen sizes. However, keep in mind that Apple iPads and iPhones accounted for about 70% of m-commerce transactions through the end of the first quarter in 2013. While the average purchase total is virtually the same as Android users, the frequency with which the Apple users make mobile purchases is greater (despite higher traffic on the part of the Android users). Online retailers will need to keep an eye on this trend going forward and optimize mobile sites accordingly.

Purchasing Capabilities: It’s imperative that users are able to easily complete mobile transactions; 83% of mobile users say that they will not use an m-commerce site or app if they have trouble completing the transaction. You can minimize the issue by using PayPal or stored credit card information (via returning customer logins or growing services like Google Wallet) to facilitate transactions that are both easy and secure. However, it remains critical to monitor these transactions and address any issues as soon as possible to minimize the impact on revenue and customer loyalty - 18% of mobile users who abandon a mobile site will immediately seek alternative brands.


The capabilities for m-commerce go beyond the shopping experience alone. Having a mobile site to drive customers back to is important, but you should also be using additional means to acquire new mobile audiences.

Integrating Mobile into Print Advertising:  Customers often visit m-commerce sites while simultaneously engaged with a print ad. Whether they scan QR codes from magazines or posters, or order a different size or color of a product they are previewing by simply scanning the barcode, they want to be able to continue their tangible experiences in the mobile realm.  Make sure this integration is possible by providing QR codes and mobile site information in print ads, as well as inside your physical store if you have one.

Location-Based Targeting: If you have a physical store or office that customers can visit, consider using location-based targeting to promote your brand’s m-commerce opportunities.  Over a third of mobile users share their location or leave their GPSs engaged, and you can use this information to target mobile devices with ads thanking customers for their visit or offering them exclusive deals.

Email and Social Media Integration: One of the best ways to drive users to your m-commerce app/site is to include app information and/or links in email and social marketing content. Optimize your email campaigns for mobile. Offer mobile coupons through these venues as a thank-you for following. Enter your product information into Pinterest so that even mobile pinners can view your product information from within the Pinterest interface. Fully integrating various mobile efforts like these will help maximize m-commerce traffic and increase frequency of purchase.

Ensuring Mobile Performance

Performance is critical to establishing a mobile strategy that creates an engaging, easily consumed mobile shopping experience. Every step laid out above is contingent on your mobile site performing as your users expect. Poor performance in a location where you’re running a regional campaign will sink sales. Missing performance issues related to payment transactions and mobile site checkouts will eat into revenue. Poorly performing product pages, slow to load product details, will push users to abandon the site or seek out the competition. Outages and slowdowns will kill marketing efforts made through email and social media.

It is with these issues in mind that AlertSite by SmartBear created its mobile monitoring solution. Keep a watchful eye on your mobile performance from over 80 global locations; test your site on today’s most popular mobile devices and monitor mobile transactions to ensure your mobile performance is always where it needs to be.

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