By Dan Hobson, Head of eCommerce, Peer 1 Hosting

Retail giant John Lewis recently acknowledged that its online sales saw an increase in traffic in the early hours of the morning from 12pm and 6am, thanks to their mCommerce capabilities. Although a strange time to be shopping, it comes as no real surprise to retailers whose mobile sites have enabled consumers to shop anywhere, anytime. Christmas 2013 for example was the year of mobile, with sales of £3 billion coming via a mobile device, accounting for over 27% of online sales. Smartphone traffic is now set to reach an all-time high this Christmas exceeding 34% (Google UK market trends, September 2014), truly integrating mobile into commerce like never before.

With this significant development within ecommerce, it was only a matter of time before m-commerce truly came into its own and mobile payments and wallets become the norm. Asda, Sainsbury’s and House of Fraser are just a few retailers that have begun to integrate mobile payments into their retail channels, and they won’t be the last. The question therefore lies around how retailers can begin to prepare themselves for the influx of m-commerce.

Check your hardware
Many retailers, although operating with omnichannel capabilities in mind, may not have considered the infrastructure to cope with the demands of m-commerce. For example, a retailer who has spent considerable amounts of money ensuring their site can run across multiple platforms may not have an infrastructure with the ability to incorporate new technologies. Trying to stick on the latest technology to an ageing site is not only a significant waste of money, but can also be a waste of time. Retailers need to first take a look at their existing eCommerce offerings, before even considering adding additional capabilities.

Keeping consumers happy
Recent research from Skrill found that 28% of people abandon a purchase thanks to the lack of payment methods, a significant number when taking into consideration the budgets and efforts taken to get people onto the site in the first place. Consumer demands are evolving far quicker than anticipated; they expect to be able to trust a retailer and receive a premium experience every time they access the site. If retailers have found themselves under scrutiny because of a lack of compliance with PCI regulations thanks to their new payment options, or due to a clunky online experience, it becomes easy to abandon the purchase.

Research from Invesp has in fact revealed that over 89% of consumers have abandoned a purchase after experiencing a poor customer experience.
With both a retailer’s existing infrastructure and focus on customer experience in mind, they face an onerous task of preparing for the upcoming influx of mobile payments. However, by taking it one step at a time and ensuring that they have ticked every box, transitioning to the mobile world should be easy and highly profitable.