Over in the U.K, an interesting development is taking place, and one that either is making or should be making every retail organization in the country sit up and take notice. The latest IMRG Capgemini (News - Alert) Quarterly Benchmarking report spells out the issue plain as day: better than one third of all online sales in the country are now done from mobile devices, and that's likely to mean some very big changes in the way business is done.
It was just a week ago when we discovered that, in terms of the mobile market, the U.K was soundly trumping the U.S on most every front, from gathering information to making purchases. But this extensive use of the mobile device especially shows up in online shopping. The report in question focused on sales figures taken from February to April, and showed that mobile commerce was actually up to 34 percent from 32 percent the previous quarter. That's additionally up in a big way from the previous year, in which 20 percent of sales figures involved mobile commerce. Given that the quarter before this one accounted for the holiday shopping season, that's especially telling. Just in the last four years, the study noted, the overall penetration for mobile commerce has grown fully 3,400 percent.
Further, for regular eRetail websites, mobile devices are becoming a steadily larger portion of the equation. In the most recent period, 48 percent of hits on said sites came from tablet and smartphone users, compared to just 30 percent in 2013's first quarter. There was also a decline in “click & collect” sales—essentially the equivalent of “ship to store” in the United States in which customers buy online but go to a store and pick up said purchase—dropping to 14 percent as compared to 16 percent the previous quarter.
The response to this survey was almost universal, with IMRG's Chief Information Officer Tina Spooner calling the study a highlight of “...the increasing importance of mCommerce to online retailers in the U.K”, and Capgemini's vice president for consumer retail and technology, Chris Webster, saying “Retailers have taken huge strides over the last few years, rapidly evolving their mCommerce platforms to match the expectations of their customers, enabled by the available technology.”
Indeed, that's the case. We've already seen how the U.K market is increasingly turning to mobile devices for just about everything, so it's not out of line to see customers doing likewise when it comes to online shopping. For retailers in the U.K, meanwhile, this serves as a clarion call to action; not having a fully optimized mobile site that's both well-secured against attack and ready to take orders for the material that users want is going to be a serious loss just on the strength of missed opportunity. But for those who don't even have a mobile site yet, optimized or otherwise, the imperative is clear; get the claim established as fast as possible and then work around the clock to get it to its fullest, because every second lost is an opportunity gone.
Clearly the shopping mood in the U.K is going mobile, and those companies who aren't prepared for such a move lose out. Thankfully, it's clear what needs to be done to prepare for this shift and take full advantage, so for those companies who move quickly here, there's a good chance at getting in on the action as customers shift gears.
Edited by Maurice Nagle
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