Mobile conversion rates: definition and best strategies

A recent report from IMRG (Smartphone and tablet performance 2015 – the year in review) shows that ‘all growth in overall e­-retail sales came via mobile devices in 2015, with sales via desktop and laptop showing negative growth (­2%) – although this was a slight improvement on 2014 growth (­3%)’. 

Smartphone-tablet-performance-2015Source: IMRG report ‘Smartphone and tablet performance 2015 – the year in review’

This data confirms that people are becoming more and more confident and keen to use mobile devices (instead of desktops and laptops) not just to search for what they need, but also to finalize their purchases. At this stage, it’s crucial for mobile marketers to clearly define the specific mobile conversion rates to monitor for each business and what is the best way to increase these rates.

Mobile conversion rates for e-commerce and e-retail 

A conversion rate can be defined as the number of people (expressed as a percentage) who take a specific action while browsing a business’ website. Different businesses will have different growth goals and therefore different user actions and consequent mobile conversion rates to focus on. For e-commerce and e-retail sectors, the key mobile conversion rate is surely the percentage of mobile users who end up making a purchase on mobile devices. Studies show that e-commerce and e-retail mobile website conversion rates are still lower than desktop conversion rates for these industries. How can we explain these findings? What is not working with the mobile user experience for these businesses’?

A possible answer could be that a mobile website, no matter how friendly it is, is not enough anymore to convert users into buyers: it’s time for e-commerce and e-retail businesses to build their own mobile app! The truth is that mobile users expect a completely different experience on mobile devices, especially smartphones, than the one provided on a website: smaller screens require less detailed and much clearer information. Moreover, since mobile users are always in a hurry, a distinct ‘call to action’ and good ease and rapidity of the browsing experience are key to increasing the e-commerce and e-retail conversion rates on mobile devices. A mobile app built on these requirements could provide higher mobile conversion rates for both e-commerce and e-retail businesses.

Personalization and timing are the most important features every business should provide to their mobile customers in order to make them satisfied with their user experience. This is particularly true for m-commerce and m-retail businesses: making sure the right user gets the right message at the right time increases the chances that the user will become a buyer, and a consistent and happy one. Good personalization and timing of the information provided via mobile requires a deep analysis of customer behaviour, demographics and preferences, in order to target them in a meaningful way. Building a mobile app which ensures an enjoyable customer experience and a personalized (push notification) message delivered when they need it, seems to be the best way for e-commerce and e-retail businesses to boost their mobile conversion rates.


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