What is increased mobile holiday traffic doing for sales?
The data coming out about the first leg of the holiday season is beginning to reveal insights about the changing way people shop. What exactly they say about mobile commerce, though, is up in the air.
From Nov. 1 through Thanksgiving, smartphones accounted for 46 percent of online shopping traffic vs. only 44 percent from desktop machines, according to Business Insider. But smartphone traffic only accounted for 29 percent of sales while desktop made up 59 percent. So, mobile traffic doesn’t necessarily translate into customers buying from their smartphones.
And while retailers like Home Depot, as reported in DigiDay, had an increase in Black Friday mobile traffic that analysts attributed to a superior mobile experience, the chain did not release specific sales details. It is also not clear whether the touted features like single-page checkout, live chat and localized promotions on Home Depot’s mobile site drove more than traffic.
The lack of a corresponding sales uptick with mobile traffic could indicate that mobile is serving a more complicated set of practices by shoppers. It could even point to an increase over the holiday in showrooming. Customers may be visiting physical retail outlets and comparing prices via mobile before purchasing a product at a cheaper outlet or buying it online.
The behavior raises questions — if certain mobile functionality could help retailers capture sales from showrooming customers or if mobile sites could be more effective in getting users to take advantage of BOPIS deals than desktop websites.
That said there are some retailers that have gotten a significant boost from a top-notch mobile presence year-round.
Sephora, for instance, attributes its ongoing success to its dedication to using mobile as the “glue” between the in-store an online experience. But the way the chain ingrains its mobile experience at every step of the customer journey extends beyond a passive mobile website. Among other things, daily mobile content actively draws eyes to the site, and targeted, localized mobile promotions are automatically texted to nearby customers.
- On Black Friday, Home Depot saw more mobile traffic than desktop – Digday
- Thanksgiving e-commerce growth surges from 2016 – Business Insider
- Home Depot shares hit all-time high as housing momentum swells, company advances mobile initiatives – CNBC
- How did mobile become the ‘glue’ in the Sephora shopping experience? – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Does increasing mobile traffic warrant greater retailer investment, even if there is not a corresponding increase in direct sales? Where do you see the biggest opportunities for retailers to use mobile tech to support their sales objectives?