We know the last 3 years have been dubbed the “year of the mobile (internet)” – but for mobile commerce, maybe 2010 really was it. Or, at least it made significant strides.
Holiday m-commerce way up
According to research by ForeSee Results, mobile commerce for holiday season 2010 increased 550% over the same period in 2009. The survey of nearly 10,000 online shoppers found 11% had used their mobile phones to make a purchase last holiday vs. a measly 2% in 2009. [Please not this research includes only mobile phones, not devices like the iPad or Kindle].
More than half have or plan to access mobile retail sites
33% of consumers had accessed a retail website or app with their mobile phone in 2010, and an additional 26% indicated they planned to in the future. This is compared with 24% and 28%, respectively, in 2009. Only 48% reported “no plans,” and 1% were undecided.
Research and comparison shopping on the rise
30% of shoppers used their phones for research, like comparing product details, looking up prices and using store locators last year, vs 11% in 2009.
15% compared products and prices while in-store, only 3% did so in 2009. Two-thirds of those 15% accessed the retailer’s mobile site, and nearly half surfed the competition.
Mobile app usage septuples
Hey, if you can quintuple something, you can septuple something. Only 1% used a mobile retail app in ’09, and 7% in ‘10.
Why customers use mobile sites and apps
The most popular reasons to use mobile websites and apps were:
- Compare prices (56%)
- Compare products (46%)
- Look up product specs (35%)
- Read reviews (27%)
- Make a purchase (17%)
- Use a store locator (10%)
What does this mean for you?
It’s exciting to see that mobile commerce is continuing to gain traction with consumers. If you’ve been sitting on the fence about developing a mobile application or website for your online business, this may give you a little nudge over the side.
However, it’s important that you understand what your customers are looking for from you regarding mobile content. Remember, the above is averaged across many industries. It’s a good idea to survey your customers. You may discover that there is a great demand for accessing product information, but not for mobile purchase. Or, there’s only demand for purchase in certain categories. Knowing what customers want can save you from developing something that won’t get used.
Consider surveying customers that have purchased in the last 6 months who have also opted into communications from you. You may offer a coupon off their next purchase (a small value, about $5) as a thank you. The incentive does 2 things – shows your customer you value their effort in submitting the survey, and may result in repeat sales.
Be sure to ask about the mobile uses listed above, along with types of purchases customers would consider making (product categories). Ask if they’ve visited competitors’ mobile sites and apps and what they did and didn’t like about them. Collect data on devices and networks. Ask what types of mobile payments they prefer. These questions will guide your mobile strategy and serve as a foundation for your requirements.