For ecommerce businesses wondering whether they should focus on optimizing their websites for the iPad, iPhone or Android the answer is... well, it depends. The mobile ecommerce landscape is in a state of rapid evolution. However, a new report from Monetate identified several key trends for mobile shopping in Q2 2012. The findings indicated that the popularity of mobile shopping is rising, with consumers using a variety of mobile platforms to access ecommerce sites. Leading online retailers receive 3.31 percent of their total web traffic from Android devices (up 1.76 percent from last year) and 5.41 percent from the iPhone (a 2.45 percent increase).
Although the iPad is still the dominant tablet, Kindle and Android now account for 10 percent of tablet traffic. The report identified two major takeaways from the mobile device information. One key step ecommerce businesses should take is to gather a better understanding of their own web traffic using quantitative analytics. Once businesses know which platforms most of their traffic comes from, they can focus on usability testing to ensure a high level of performance on those devices. The second takeaway is that businesses need to adopt website features to improve convenience for mobile users.
"Whether on an iPad or Android device, consumers are shopping more on tablets and represent one of the fastest-growing customer segments," the report stated. "Convert more tablet browsers to buyers by testing alternate payment methods - such as PayPal - that don’t require a shopper to reach for a credit card."
Flexible mobile hosting contracts allow businesses to experiment with their websites to determine the most valuable features for their consumers. As Monetate's report indicated, new mobile platforms can quickly rise in popularity even when the mobile market is dominated by one type of device. This means businesses need to be able to quickly adapt to ensure their content is accessible to new platforms.
How social media can increase conversions
One of the other trends the report found applies to all website users, whether accessing via mobile or desktop computers. Although email remains the biggest source of conversions with a 4.25 percent conversion rate, integrated features such as social login may be able to increase conversions for all inbound marketing channels. Requiring users to register is one of the major barriers to website conversions, which means adopting social login to streamline the registration process could significantly increase conversion rates.
Social media engagement and consumer trust
Delivering a website experience optimized for mobile is one way to increase ecommerce sales, but it's not just about maximizing revenues. Especially with 24/7 access to company and product information, consumer trust is becoming a large factor in a brand's ability to obtain new customers.
A recent Business 2 Community article highlighted the importance of trust and ways companies can build it. Eighty-four percent of survey respondents said companies need to prove they are trustworthy before consumers are willing to buy products, and one of the most commonly cited trust factors was customer reviews on social networks. Other factors include mobile engagement and video content. However, the content needs to deliver value by presenting realistic solutions to consumer problems, rather than simply showcasing products.
"As online marketing continues to grow, it’s important for businesses to provide authentic and useful information to potential customers across a variety of platforms," the article stated. "Providing reviews and recommendations on social media sites as well as offering helpful, localized content can help your business build trust with consumers and help drive prospects closer to a sale."
The takeaway is that businesses need to be able to experiment with their websites. Not only to figure out how to best optimize for a large variety of websites, but to also understand how consumers interact with their content. Flexible ecommerce hosting solutions optimized for platforms such as Magento are essential for ensuring performance, while also giving online businesses the capacity they need to experiment with different strategies.