M-commerce: smartphones and purchasing on-the-go

smartphone online shoppingWhat does the growing popularity of smartphones mean for small online businesses ?

Recent years have seen a shift away from online shopping being carried out solely through a PC. Purchasing online is now a multi-device, mobile experience that has fundamentally changed the way consumers shop online.  As M-commerce continues on its steady upward trajectory,  what does this mean for the small business owner? In this post we look at some interesting statistics surrounding smartphones and their growing place in consumers’ online shopping experience.

Mobile phones have become an integral part of our everyday life, for example when was the last time your left home without your mobile device?  I know if I ever leave mine behind, I spend the day subconsciously reaching about for it – so accustomed am I to its constant presence. So,  as mobile technology continues to improve and develop, one has to wonder what effect it will have on online shopping namely,  ‘shopping on the move’.

Shopping with smartphones – what does the future hold?

Actual online purchases made through a Smartphone are currently still lagging behind desk tops and tablets . However,  purchasing via a smartphone is rising and is likely to continue to do so as smartphone sales grow, mobile technology continues to advance and online businesses adapt their websites to be small device compatible.

In the last year, shopping by smartphone and tablet in the UK increased by  18%, with sales via mobile devices doubling to £3bn  .

“About 80% of mobile sales come from tablet computers, but sales via smartphones are growing faster as retailers adapt their websites to make it easier to shop from a phone and the technology improves. Sales from smartphones nearly tripled between 2012 and 2013.” The Guardian Business

Interesting Smartphone  statistics

“Smartphones are our constant shopping companions – helping us research, compare, and even purchase products online and in stores” Google Mobile Ads Blog  

I had a little look for some recent Smartphone statistics and found some interesting reading some of which I’ve listed below.

  • Mobile retail is gaining momentum with more than four in five (87%) smartphone and tablet owners in the US using a mobile device for shopping activities (Nielsen)
  • In the US 34% of mobile internet users admit that their smartphone is their primary device for going online (econsultancy)
  • A quarter of the UK have shopped online using their smartphone. Research shows that 23% of consumers in the UK have bought goods online  their smartphone. (econsultancy)
  • Data from econsultancy’s Multi-channel Retail Survey that the number of consumers that have made a purchase on mobile has roughly doubled in the UK since 2011 from 13% to 25% of consumers.
  • According to e-marketer 4.55 billion people worldwide will use a mobile phone in 2014 with 1.75 billion of those using smartphones
  • In June 2013 more than half (55%) of all ‘retail related’ time spent online originated on smartphones and tablet devices (econsultancy)
  • In the UK Smartphone owners who have used their smartphones to make a purchase has increased from 28% in 2011 to 39% in 2013 (Google Mobile Planet)
  • Smartphone penetration in the UK now stands at 58% (econsultancy)
  • eMarketer expects 4.55 billion people worldwide to use a mobile phone in 2014
    Read more at http://www.emarketer.com/Article/Smartphone-Users-Worldwide-Will-Total-175-Billion-2014/1010536#YeJmgHpqi67eTDtT.99
eMarketer expects 4.55 billion people worldwide to use a mobile phone in 2014
Read more at http://www.emarketer.com/Article/Smartphone-Users-Worldwide-Will-Total-175-Billion-2014/1010536#YeJmgHpqi67eTDtT.99
The global smartphone audience surpassed the 1 billion mark in 2012 and will total 1.75 billion in 2014 Read more at http://www.emarketer.com/Article/Smartphone-Users-Worldwide-Will-Total-175-Billion-2014/1010536#xolsKEfKZ550j9jI.99
The global smartphone audience surpassed the 1 billion mark in 2012 and will total 1.75 billion in 2014 Read more at http://www.emarketer.com/Article/Smartphone-Users-Worldwide-Will-Total-175-Billion-2014/1010536#xolsKEfKZ550j9jI.99

Mobile ecommerce shopping cart checkoutAdapting your website for small screen purchasing

It is important for small online businesses to adapt their websites for small screen purchasing. Even if actual purchasing on smartphones is still relatively low, it is rising steadily year-on-year. And as mobile technology and indeed shopping cart technology improves this is trend is likely to continue.

Equally important is the integral part that smartphones play in the multi-channel online shopping journey. Even if actual end purchasing is still predominantly via tablets and PCs, Smartphones are used for the initial research like checking out your website, downloading vouchers and looking up product reviews.

“In the UK, people are increasingly using their smartphones for researching products, locating stores and making purchases. That’s why it is now essential for businesses to ensure their sites are mobile-ready”. Matt Brocklehurst, Product Marketing Manager at Google

So make sure you don’t dismiss smartphones and the significant part they play in the online shopping journey . Get your website fully optimised to be multi-device compatible –  ensuring your customers experience a seamless online journey – right through to shopping cart and checkout.

We’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences on this post, so please do leave a comment.

Smartphone carrying shoppingcart courtesy of cuteimage / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

 

 

 

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How smartphones have brought credit card acceptance within your reach

 

Guest Post: First Data Merchant Solutions

First Data Merchant Solutions LogoNew smartphone and Bluetooth technology has enabled very small businesses, such as mobile hairstylists, gardeners, plumbers or electricians to accept credit and debit cards easily and affordably.

Richard Simon from First Data Merchant Solutions, which provides special rates for card services to ShopIntegrator members, explains how small businesses can use the new technology to ensure they no longer have to turn away customers not carrying enough cash.

He said: “Traders can now buy a pocket sized card reader that can be easily attached via Bluetooth to their smartphone. Once you’ve downloaded an app to your phone, you are ready to start accepting card payments.

“These mobile card systems are more cost effective for very small businesses as they require less up-front investment than traditional card terminals like the ones used in shops.”

“First Data is a global expert in card acceptance,” explained Richard, “and we have recently recent launched Pogo> which enables you to accept mobile card payments with your iPhone®, iPad®, iPod touch® or Android™ device. It’s fast, secure and easy to use with no contracts, fixed fees or minimum usage agreements.

“In the UK it’s still early days for mobile POS. Research suggests of Britain’s 4.9 million[1] small businesses less than a half accept card payments[2] and could be losing more than £800m[3] of sales a year as a result.

“This could be about to change as strong demand for mobile POS is predicted from both micro merchants and large merchants driven by growth in online trade, a rise in smartphone usage and card penetration. [4]

“Consumers increasingly expect to be able to use their cards whenever they wish. For the trader, mobile POS can mean never having to lose a sale because the customer doesn’t have the right amount of cash and less chasing of unpaid invoices.”

For more information about Pogo> please visit First Data Merchant Solutions

 

First Data Europe Limited is authorised by the UK Financial Conduct Authority under the Payment Service Regulations 2009 for the provision of payment services (FCA register No. 582703).

[1] http://www.fsb.org.uk/stats

[2]http://forum.vendorcom.com/media/RBTE2013/120313%20Worldpay%20Retail%20Presentation.pdf

[3] https://www.paypal.co.uk/blog/do-you-accept-cards-the-ps800-million-question-for-smes/

[4]http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/mobile-pos-technology-market-and-social-commerce-impact-on-consumer-goods-industries-analyzed-in-new-research-reports-204335361.html

 

Mobile commerce – is your website multi-device friendly?

Mobile ecommerce shopping cart checkoutThe rise and rise of mobile and tablet commerce

In a nutshell, mobile commerce (m-commerce) is the use of wireless electronic handheld devices such as mobile phones and smartphones to conduct business. In this blog we’ll also be including tablets under the m-commerce umbrella.

The last few years have seen a near explosion in the use of handheld devices and there is no sign of a slow down. In the US alone 54% of adults now own a smartphone and by 2016 it is estimated that 450 million tablets will be sold annually worldwide (Business Insider).

In terms of online shopping ComScore Research shows that during Q4 2010 mobile commerce accounted for just 3% of US e-commerce but by Q4 2012 this had risen to 11%.

So what does m-commerce mean for you as a small business?

OK, so you could argue that the 11% figure quoted above is relatively small in the grand scheme of things, but the important point is that the trend is upward and looks set to continue upward.

As a business you also need to take into account of how devices are used and your customer’s overall path to purchase. For example according to Google, 67% of shoppers start on one device and finish on another. I know I often browse an online store using my iPhone whilst out having a coffee only to complete the purchase later at home on my iPad watching TV .

It is important not to lump together devices. Research indicates they are used by the consumer in different ways. Tablets are used primarily around the home, mostly in living room 96% and bedroom 94% (Monetate). Whereas Smartphones are more ‘on the go’ and still chiefly used for email, making calls and accessing social networking sites like Facebook (Adobe 2013 Digital Publishing report).

“Companies should work to deliver device specific experiences to visitors in order to maximise the likelihood of purchase.” (Forrester)

An often quoted statistic is that by 2014 mobile internet access will overtake desktop internet access. There is still somewhere to go before handheld devices displace the PC for research and purchase usage, but as a business you need to be flexible enough to cater for each specific device.

Tablet usage is having a momentous rise. Indeed Monetate note a whopping 348% growth in traffic from tablets between 2011 and 2012. This supports the rise in what is  often refered to as ‘sitback shopping’ or, as in a great infographic from Monetate ‘couch commerce’ http://monetate.com/infographic/couch-commerce-how-tablet-shoppers-are-changing-online-sales/.

Consumers continue to move away from desk-top and lap-top computers when shopping online, requiring e-commerce businesses to rethink the consumer experience on smartphones and tablets (Monetate).

As a business you need to be looking ahead and ensure your business is geared up for m-commerce. Mobiles and tablets may not have displaced the desktop for online shopping – yet – but the upward trend continues and they are an increasingly important part of your customers purchasing journey.

How to make your online store multi-device friendly

We’ll leave you with a few simple steps to help get you started on ensuring your website is mobile commerce friendly. Google notes that 67% of mobile users say that when they visit a mobile-friendly site, they’re more likely to buy  a site’s product or service.

1. Check how your website looks on different devices.

Look at your website on different devices.  A great place to start is Google’s GOMO http://www.howtogomo.com. You can test your site on multiple devices and they’ll give you some really useful introductory advice.

And, don’t forget to think about your cart and checkout. If you are using a third-party e-commerce make sure that their shopping cart and checkout are multi-device compatible.

2. Make sure your website is ‘fat finger friendly’.

A great term I read the other day for making sure you think about how your users will view and use your website. Use large fonts, drop down menus, big buttons and limit text entry (especially form filling). Remember on a mobile device viewing takes place on a much smaller screen.

3. Simple site design and keep content clear, short and simple

Keep your website design clean, clear and clutter free and content short and to the point. This is essential as no matter on what device your website is being used it will make navigation simpler for your customer.

4. Responsive design, plug-ins, mobile apps or mobile website

There are different options available for you to get your website m-commerce ready.

Plenty of companies out there now offer responsive design. Responsive design effectively adapts your website to fit the device on which it is being viewed without having to create a multitude of device specific websites.

If you are using a Content Management System as a website platform then some CMS like wordpress and drupal offer plug-ins that will reformat your pages to adapt to different devices.

Alternatively, you could consider building a separate, independent website for mobile traffic or create a mobile app.

Whatever route you decide to go down just keep in mind that it’s all about the end users experience on the device that they are using to view your website.