A new development has taken place in the world of online shopping, based on reports from Branding Brand's Mobile Commerce Index report that represents something of a first for the field of online shopping. This is a development that's been in the making since 2010, and now, has come to fruition. For the first time, more consumers use smartphones and tablets to visit retail websites than do likewise on traditional desktop and laptop devices. This development, meanwhile, charts a clear forward course for retailers hoping to do well in terms of sales online.
August 2014, according to the report, marked the first time that more users—51 percent of the studied total—hit online retail sites with mobile devices, and the majority of these hits came from Apple (News - Alert) devices. Indeed, the study found that 61 percent of all smartphone visits came from iOS devices, and in terms of tablet visits, fully 81 percent of the total was Apple. Back in 2010, online retail visits from mobile devices accounted for just four percent of the total, showing how quickly this trend came on. The Branding Brand study took results from 26 major brands in North America across several industries ranging from home goods to health and beauty products, which represents a sound cross-section of commercial traffic online.
Already, some projections are being derived from this, as explained by Branding Brand's co-founder and CEO Chris Mason, who noted that the majority of shopping traffic for this holiday season would likely come from users running iOS 8, which is particularly noteworthy as iOS 8 isn't even available yet. Given that Apple has been said to be in the process of making several improvements for mobile commerce—like recent reports of a possible near field communications (NFC) solution in the works as well as mobile payment options—that's particularly likely to come to pass.
But for the astute business, this immediately suggests a course of action, and is likely part of a course of action that has already been in the works for some time now. Businesses have been working to optimize sites for mobile use—make the sites work to provide the best possible experience for mobile users, focusing on things like layout in accommodation of screen size and similar matters—and now, those efforts are about to pay off in earnest as more and more users proceed to the mobile devices to do shopping. There is, of course, still some time to get all the ducks in a row, so to speak, but those looking for the best possible shot at a successful holiday shopping season had better get moving quickly; given that Thanksgiving is about 11 weeks away, and that holiday shopping often starts up in earnest before that, there's not much time left to ensure that an online operation will run as smoothly on a mobile device as it will on a desktop or laptop, assuming it hasn't already been done.
Successful businesses understand the variety of tools that users turn to to access content and make purchases, and accommodate those tools accordingly. Those that don't make those accommodations risk losing out on potential business and, from there, potential profit. Going where the customers are is a key focus of any operation, and in this case, the customers are, increasingly, on a mobile device.
Edited by Stefania Viscusi
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