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March 22, 2018
How Mobile Will Drive eCommerce
Mobile devices, which constitute 50% of all Internet traffic and 63% of email opens, influence ecommerce. Its estimated that mobile ecommerce represents 10% of all retail transactions.
Forty percent of Black Friday 2017 sales were made on mobile devices. And 24% of all digital ecommerce in Q4 2017, the holiday period, were attributed to mobile devices. The outstanding questions are; how and to what degree will mobile influence and direct sales growth?
A recent study of 1.2 billion mobile interactions, conducted for Qubit, presents some provocative answers in an arena where mobile traffic is strong and growing but the rate of growth for mobile purchases and conversions is uncertain. One hundred and twenty-five million American smartphone bearing consumers have the time, the interest, the muscle memory and the intent to shop and browse on their smartphones. But retailers may not be fully serving their needs.
The current rate of ecommerce conversions is 9% for desktops and laptops and 5% for smartphones and tablets. The survey data, based on log-ins and cookies, indicates that 19% of desktop and laptop purchases are influenced by prior mobile engagement. Purchase influence surges to 24% in the fashion category and dips slightly to 18% for multi-category retailers. This so-called “halo effect” is almost double the influence measured in 2016 and is expected to grow steadily.
Two primary issues drive the growth rate of both the halo effect and mobile conversions.  Can consumers browse, search and discover new items on their phones? And can they execute selection, payment and purchase easily without friction?
Improving the customer experience on mobile is the obvious answer. Consumers generally use on-site or in-app search tools to find products they know they want. Things get fuzzier and more difficult for those who wish to find new things or to browse. Google reports that searches for “where to buy” are up 85% over the past two years. The bigger the product catalog; the more difficult browsing becomes.
The fixes, according to responding consumers, are to curate merchandize based on personal profiles using some form of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) and to make recommendations like Amazon does. Spotify and Pinterest were cited as good examples of sites that have nailed the browsing issue. There is evidence, from Qubit’s client base, that product recommendations derived from machine learning can more than double conversions.
The checkout fix is to streamline the process, store payment data and link mobile payment systems to mobile web sites and shopping apps. Reducing friction and abandons is an on-going crusade among ecommerce merchants.
Nurturing the halo effect and driving more, better, profitable mobile shopping experiences Is on everyone’s agenda. This new data gives us a baseline to work against and some critical clues about how to make quick improvements. Google’s recent announcement expanding their Shopping Actions program is a step in this direction. Look for other serious ecommerce players to follow suit.

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Danny Flamberg, EVP Managing Director of Digital Strategy and CRM at Publicis based in New York, has been building brands and building businesses for more than 30 years.Prior to joining Publicis, he led a successful global consulting group called Booster Rocket, as Managing Partner. Before becoming a consultant, he was Vice President of Global Marketing at SAP, SVP and Managing Director at Digitas in New York and Europe and President of Relationship Marketing at Amiratti Puris Lintas and Lowe Worldwide.
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