If you’re doing business online, the pressure to attract, convert and retain customers is already substantial. The rise in optimization as a “core competency for digital marketers” is the outcome of increasingly fierce online competition and price pressure in almost every category. Mobile raises the stakes further. Your existing analytics may need some adjustment to meet the demands of mobile behavior, particularly when it comes to purchasing. And if you’re thinking this doesn’t quite apply to your industry yet or even that you have some breathing room before falling behind, consider the landscape: Mobile is, increasingly, where customers are spending their time and, consequently, their dollars. In 2009, e-commerce spending in the United States amounted to 209 billion U.S. dollars, a 2 percent loss (!) from the previous year. It took the Great Recession to slow this trend, but sales recovered in 2010 and continued to grow to 256 billion U.S. dollars in 2011, according to research by Statista. Not surprisingly, according to a study by eMarketer earlier this year (January 2013), mobile search and display advertising is up 220% in the US alone. While shopping is not consumers’ favorite activity on their smartphones, 15 million say they make a purchase via a mobile phone at least weekly. And it doesn’t stop with electronics or back-to-school shopping. According to Google’s Mobile Planet study in 2012, 1 in 6 people switching banks said a poor mobile experience was part of the reason. And 40% of consumers said they will visit the competition if a bank’s site isn’t mobile enabled. Consumers are booking travel via tablets and smart phones. In other words, as smart phones and tablets gain market penetration, they will be increasingly important to almost every consumer-facing business sector. Smaller screens mean less space to communicate and engage. Mobile usage habits – including the tendency to make impulse purchases – and the general fractured nature of consumers’ attention all mean less time to influence behavior. Analytics must target individual customers and facilitate specific offers in order to ensure optimal results. Mobile, more than any other trend, is putting the focus squarely on individual shopping bags and what customers add on their way out the virtual door. Sound familiar? Turns out smart phones are having precisely the wrong effect on offline impulse purchases. To avoid a similar fate, put emphasis where your customers are. The good news is, they’re checking out.
Meghan holds a Bachelor’s degree in Math from the University of Virginia, and a Masters in Industrial and Systems Engineering from the University of Memphis.