It was a cry heard fairly regularly throughout the mobile commerce community: “Optimize your mobile website for mobile traffic!” The cry wasn't heard without good reason; mobile optimized websites offered much greater potential for sales thanks to the simple fact that such sites were more readily used by the target market. But a new study from Branding Brand shows that the call to optimization wasn't just empty words: it now has a clear and tangible benefit attached.
The Branding Brand Mobile Commerce Index, a report released monthly, ran down a variety of issues in the field of mobile commerce. The index in question covers 26 different businesses across several different sectors ranging from apparel to home goods, and featuring names like American Eagle Outfitters and Crate & Barrel, so it's an extensive cross-section of online retailers. In the period between May 2013 and May 2014, a clear pattern began to emerge. Not only are visits up, but so too are order counts and revenue overall. Visits went from 12,616,768 in May 2013 to 21,370,116 in May 2014. The order count nearly doubled, going from 105,568 to 209,266. But the big clincher here was revenue, which increased from $8,792,295 in May 2013 to $18,578,024. That's a 111.3 percent increase in revenue among mobile optimized sites.
The lesser numbers tell an even more important story. Smartphones in May 2014 generated just over a third—33.4 percent—of total online visits, with 62.2 percent of those coming from iOS devices and 37 percent coming from Android. Meanwhile, non-mobile visits fell fully 20.2 percent over that one year period.
The end result of all these numbers, meanwhile, is surprisingly clear. For those who heeded the call to optimize a mobile website, results are now on hand to prove that it was a good idea. For those who didn't, there was likely a pretty substantial loss of potential opportunity in the field. As expressed by Branding Brand co-founder and CEO, Chris Mason, “Every iota of data we've generated points to the unmistakable fact that shoppers are on the verge of utilizing mobile as their primary gateway to retailers.” This underscores the critical point with an efficiency that's nearly brutal: the easier it is to use a mobile website to make purchases, the more likely that avenue will actually be used. Optimizing a site for mobile helps ensure that the site will not only be used once, but will be returned to later, and that's a development that's hard to pass up by any stretch.
The overall plan a company should therefore engage in—especially if it's a retailer—is to optimize the mobile component, first for iOS, and then for Android (News - Alert). While Android certainly has value to retailers, its value is immediately less than that of iOS. So for those businesses that must prioritize between the two: start with iOS then move to Android. Android has plenty of users, and is making major gains in developing nations, so being ready to get in on that business will prove smart in the long term. But for the short term, most business' traffic is likely coming from iOS users, so being ready there first is probably the best move overall. Still, the key takeaway here is undeniable: the mobile market is a rapidly increasing market, and those who fail to prepare for its gains will likely lose out on said gains.
Edited by Maurice Nagle
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