Shopping on the Fly: Smartphone retail habits and how to use them

Understanding how your customers use their devices is key in offering them the best user experience. After all, an efficient and straightforward experience is most likely to result in sales for you! So when so many consumers undertake at least part of their purchasing journey using their smartphone, it’s clear that this element of their experience is pivotal. How does it fit in overall, though? And how can you use the device habits of your customers to ensure that your e-commerce offering is as proactive as it can be?

Smartphone stats

It’s no big news that consumers use their phones to shop. 79% of smartphone users have purchased online using their device in the last 6 months and 80% of shoppers have used their phone in-store to research their purchase. Perhaps the key change in shopper habits is the use of smartphones to browse whilst at home as well as on the move. In fact, the World Advertising Research Centre has predicted that 72% of internet users will access the web solely via smartphones by 2025. Whether that comes to pass only time will tell, but this focus on smartphone dependability is stark.

Industry Norms

2020 saw online retail overall claim over 30% of sales, and this is unlikely to drop significantly.

However, the industry influences how likely customers are to use a mobile device to shop. Grocery shopping has experienced different habits to other areas of retail such as fashion and homeware. Online makes up 11.5% of all grocery sales, for example, while fashion sits at around 20%. To understand where your industry sits.

Customer priorities

Convenience is clearly a top consumer priority. We can see this in the scale of mobile smartphone use in e-commerce purchasing. Even more, so is the increase of use within the home when a user has chosen a smartphone over other devices. Within their mobile experience, consumers prioritise the checkout experience, shipping costs, tracking and return policies when they choose where to shop. These factors should form the backbone of how your mobile presence is laid out and displayed.

Switching devices

67% of online shoppers switch devices during their purchase journey. This multi-device path to purchasing places a responsibility on the retailer to make the switch seamless. Browsing that begins on a mobile smartphone will, 60% of the time, be completed on a PC. So the first impression must be a good one!

Familiarity breeds…

The adage of old reads ‘familiarity breeds contempt. However, in the world of e-commerce, it’s quite the opposite – familiarity breeds content. Consumers don’t want to be thrown off course and surprised by a whole different purchase journey should they switch devices. While different features need to be at play while using different devices, stick to a consistent presence and experience to retain that browsing customer.

To app or not to app

So, should an m-commerce offering be limited to the mobile optimised website? Or should you go that step further and develop an app? Every organisation is different; from size to industry. However, when you see more than half of your traffic accessing you from mobile then it’s time to start thinking app. Apps are a win-win addition to your e-commerce presence. You get to know your customers better, and your customers get more convenient and streamlined service.

While the mobile retail experience may not be the definitive location for all consumers, it’s a huge deciding factor in whether a customer will proceed with a purchase. So it will become more and more key for retailers to understand this and prioritise this part of the journey when they come to look at their e-commerce offering. Smartphones have the ability to dovetail beautifully into a wider online retail package. Ultimately it will only benefit retailers to embrace this and unify their online presence with this consumer habit in mind.