Customers Are Choosing Mobile This Holiday  

Mobile Shopping BagThere are only a few weeks left in this holiday shopping season, yet the key lessons of 2016 are already clear. The number one lesson is that shoppers are, finally, all about mobile. Over the past few years we’ve watched mobile browsing grow and develop into mobile shopping, and this year (as we predicted!) the mobile register finally started ringing with conversions.

Rise of Mobile

This year mobile accounted for 22 percent of all U.S. e-commerce revenue during Cyber Week. Think about that: Despite the challenges of screen size, input and payment, customers spent almost a quarter of their online dollars via mobile. Tie that shift together with the overall trend from in-store to online, as well as the progression from Black Friday to Cyber Week, and it’s time for marketers to completely rethink their approach to the season. From advertising to promotion to experience, it’s a whole new game.

Mobile at Home

Let’s focus on how to win customers through mobile. First, forget your assumptions about people shopping on mobile when they’re out and about and looking for a deal. Yes, those visitors are still important. But people are now shopping on their mobiles at home! Mobile conversion rates generally peak in the evening, from 7-10 p.m., when people are at home, probably watching TV (which suggests great cross-channel promotional opportunities, but that’s for another article). This year, mobile conversion rates were higher on Thanksgiving than on Black Friday — by an astonishing 115 percent. You can take advantage of that spike by offering personalized promotions such as limited-time offers or free shipping.

Mobile Screens

While smartphone screens have grown, they are still small. Despite that challenge, consumers are choosing the convenience and familiarity of their phones for shopping. It’s your job to optimize that experience for them, given the tight constraints. Presentation has to be streamlined and you have to prioritize the most relevant products. The average time-on-site for mobile is shorter than on desktop, by 5-10 percent. You have to grab shoppers’ attention — quickly. Clickable areas, social sharing buttons and navigation must be large and clear, while pop-ups are almost always a distracting annoyance. Badges that indicate best sellers, shipping deadlines and special sizes catch a shopper’s eye and encourage the buying process. When you’re designing for mobile, the watchword is simplicity.

Mobile Payment

Simplicity should be applied to your mobile payments as well. Shoppers can be very reluctant to enter payment information on mobile, both because it’s a pain and because it may feel insecure. Retailers using standard payment options typically see a lot of shopping and not a lot of buying. To get over this hurdle, prominently feature icons for popular payment methods such as PayPal and MasterPass. Or, better yet, take advantage of truly mobile-friendly options like Apple Pay and Android Pay that make checking out easier than it is on desktop: click, click, fingerprint, done!


Lucinda Duncalfe is CEO of Monetate. A seasoned entrepreneur and innovator, Lucinda has proven experience building mature sales and operations cultures, and developing product strategies that accelerate company growth. She has served on Monetate’s Board of Directors for the past seven years, and helped Monetate create and establish a multi-billion dollar market for digital personalization.


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