As the consumer’s path to purchase continues to evolve, brands must develop new strategies to speak to their customers at every touchpoint.
Today’s consumer is fickle—difficult to track, and even more difficult to predict. What is certain is that today’s consumer is inherently digital-focused, with 55% of consumers across the globe preferring to make their purchases online—a figure which only continues to grow in both established and emerging markets, according to recent research from UPS and comScore. The markets bear out this shift, as eCommerce now constitutes nearly 6.5% of all US retail, with mCommerce purchases (via mobile or tablet) accounting for 16% of total eCommerce. And today’s consumer prefers the all-digital approach with 39% of users preferring to both Search and Buy online, compared to 21% who prefer to Search online and Buy in-store.
The truth is, despite individual differences, there are a few core guiding tenets that dictate how consumers use their various devices to move through the purchase decision. Understanding how and what users are seeking from each device—and how they flow from one device to the next can help brands target, tailor and refine their digital experiences to effectively connect the path to purchase with the actual purchase. Let’s break it down by device.
The cornerstone of all eCommerce, desktops out-index all other devices, commanding 61% of total research and 44% of all purchases—about 600% of the next-preferred channel. Desktops are also the primary “Discovery” mechanism in the digital space, where your customers interact with your brand for the first time. However, the dominance of desktop is slipping, with its percentage of total eCommerce decreasing from 78% to 63% from 2013 to 2014. Despite the downward trend, desktop is still the preferred channel due to robust capabilities and seamless user experience—unsurprising, considering that nearly all creative and optimization efforts have been focused on this channel.
How to Engage Consumers: This is the go-to platform that will make or break your web presence, and forms the basis of all omnichannel experiences.
What Drives Consumers Away: Lack of portability tethers the desktop/laptop firmly to usage at home or work.
Mobile’s current strengths lie in the “Research” phase, but purchase behaviors continue to increase, with 41% of mobile users having completed a purchase on their device in the past week— growing by 87.5% year-over-year. Despite being out-performed by desktops, the total share of mCommerce (tablets & mobile combined) has reached 12% of total eCommerce revenue— and is increasing by 3% year over year. Additionally, 22% of mobile users use their devices to research and compare options while in-store, providing a massive opportunity for in-the-moment engagement. Though full site experiences are still preferred, 34% of users prefer a mobile-specific interface, and 25% prefer a full mobile App.
How to Engage Consumers: Mobile-optimize wherever possible—especially for those quick-reference, on-the-go moments of research, reference and interaction in order to capture fleeting attention & in-store opportunities. Though rapidly growing in terms of market share, deep-dive research and purchase behaviors are still hampered by the small screen size and interface limitations.
What Drives Consumers Away: Limitations in functionality due to screen size makes involved tasks cumbersome, including limits to image size and slow data-entry, and 43% of users have left mobile experiences due to these shortcomings. Make sure you’re cross-device optimized!
Tablets best mobile devices in both Research & Purchase categories, and has experienced 100% year-over-year growth to capture 7% of eCommerce traffic. Additionally, tablets account for over 62% of all mCommerce sales, making this a critical outlet for retailers to capitalize on. 51% of users have made a purchase on their tablet within the previous week. Tablet shoppers also have a high rate of purchase conversion, with 2.45% of shoppers converting to a sale (compared to 1.14% on mobile devices and 3.15% on desktops). Device usage and spending is forecasted to continue growing by double-digit figures through 2019, with much of this growth focused on wealthier consumers—a huge opportunity for luxury brands to capitalize on the creation and promotion of immersive content experiences—especially if they can be seamlessly connected to an eCommerce function.
How to Engage Consumers: Place heavy emphasis on the immersive brand experience by enhancing the amount and level of detail developed around product offerings. While still beat out by desktops, tablets are quickly closing in on the in-store channel for second-most-preferred research avenue. Additionally, it is critical to remember that full sites are over 300% more likely to shop on full sites rather than mobile sites or Apps.
What Drives Consumers Away: Same issues as mobile devices—limited functionality and cumbersome data entry means that this device is less than optimal for deep-dive research and data entry (e.g., purchase actions).
Ultimately, with the continued rise of consumers’ use of mobile/tablets, it will become increasingly critical to level the functionality and usability of your web presence across all channels, especially from a commerce perspective. Overcoming the challenges to purchase optimization (e.g., simplifying interfaces, linking to digital payments instead of requiring credit cards, etc.) will be a major boon to the entire eCommerce industry, and will continue the trend of expanding mCommerce—but only if consumers know that they can expect it. Despite the device-specific functionality hurdles, there is one major step that brands of all sizes should be taking immediately—presenting the same content and experience to users, regardless of device.
Seamless eCommerce isn’t just a pipe dream with Zmags’ out-of-the-box commerce plugins for Magento, DemandWare and Hybris, and the eCommerce experience renders seamlessly across all of your customer’s devices. True flexibility and control are within your reach—all wrapped up in a beautiful little SaaS digital publishing platform that we call Publicator. Get in touch today to learn how we can put this solution to work for your brand and start capturing a larger share of the eCommerce pie.