Laptop

From mobile wallets to Apple Pay, last year saw an unprecedented surge in mobile activity in the UK e-commerce market. All in all, mobile accounted for 60% of online browsing activity in 2015 (according to the IMRG Capgemini Quarterly Benchmarking Report), whilst 31.1% of e-commerce traffic was on mobile devices.

These impressive statistics confirm the inevitable: the continued dominance of m-commerce in 2016 is a dead-on certainty. Growth and innovation in the online payment space will no doubt continue to surge this year. Google, Facebook and Apple will resume their battle to consolidate traction in the emerging (social) e-commerce market by engaging customer attention whilst browsing online. And while high-profile personal data breaches will probably continue to be daily fodder for the nightly news, a recent study has shown increased interest in product personalisation: 62% of digital shoppers believe digital ads are generally well-targeted to their interests.

With desktops remaining popular during the day and mobile devices reaching their peak usage time between 8pm and 9pm, e-retailers need to develop individual strategies for desktop and mobile. What do these e-retailers need to do so that mobile devices no longer only serve to browse, but also to complete full transactions? Below are the best take away tips on how to steal a march on your competitors engaged in online retail over the coming year.

Make your site more mobile-friendly

Fail to fully optimise your e-commerce sites for mobile, and you will most likely suffer at the till. Last year Google introduced an algorithm based on a company’s attention to the mobile experience that essentially rewards those who adapt their sites for mobile devices (and penalises those who don’t). With shoppers now increasingly likely to purchase whilst on the move, a company’s ignorance of mobile optimisation could significantly harm their ranking in mobile search results.

Take advantage of Google Shopping features for mobile

In 2015, Google focussed on user experience on mobile by introducing and testing a range of features in the United States. Expected to reach Europe this year, features such as ‘the buy button’ will allow users to easily complete transactions using their bank details saved in Google Wallet; while the incorporation of product reviews in Product Listing Ads are expected to significantly improve both user experience and conversion rates on mobile.

For e-retailers, integrating these features into their own campaigns as soon as they are possible will put them at a competitive advantage when compared with those that choose to ignore such possibilities. Displaying product reviews in Google Shopping for example can help to give more credibility to an online store and set them apart from other ads when users are comparing products.

Make the most of social media shopping on mobile

E-commerce on social media is soaring, so much so that this channel is quickly becoming a serious competitor for Google - in 2015 alone, 23.68 billion dollars was spent on social media advertising. If retailers have not yet done so, they should seriously consider social media as part of their online marketing strategy, particularly considering some of the features that are offered on mobile. Facebook for example, has developed multi-product ads that are perfectly adapted for mobile devices, while many other platforms including Instagram and Pinterest have also introduced ‘buy buttons’ to finally close the gap between inspiration and transaction turning social networks into genuine shopping platforms.

By Herbert Knibiehly, VP of Marketing at Twenga Solutions