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The State of Mobile, and a Look to the Future

The State of Mobile, and a Look to the Future.jpg

Every year is heralded as ‘the year of mobile’, although the technology still hasn’t quite hit the spot. Arguably due to the Google algorithm changes, businesses have rushed their mobile projects, which has resulted in very functional and samey mobile sites. And browsers still aren’t buying at the rates we all expected.

So what problems are Heads of Ecommerce currently finding with mobile, and how are they dealing with them? 

Browsing snackers

The main problem for businesses is mobile user behaviour. The well documented issues around mobile checkout and payment means that mobile traffic has a very low conversion rate. Heads of Ecommerce have defined this behaviour as people ‘snacking’ on content on trains, when waiting for friends or at any idle moment. But what can you do if you don’t want to pay for bored commuters?

Well obviously in the long run you improve your mobile checkout. But short term, it may help to change your mindset on what mobile should be for your business. Rather than see it as a channel to drive conversion, see it as one to build engagement. 

Mobile can be just a way of talking to consumers differently, providing them with content they want to read and can access quickly on the move. Some businesses are scheduling their marketing emails at key browsing times to capture this traffic.

After all, it’s better that they’re snacking on your content than your competitors’, right?

Data problems

All these snacking browsers have very real effects on data and reporting. Increased mobile traffic drags conversion rates down, while tying together cross-device behaviour and where a sale actually came from can be a real headache. The same is true of companies who sell through third parties; how can they tie their mobile browsing activity to third party sales?

Certainly the answer is partly in establishing new metrics for mobile traffic. Measuring time on site or bounce rate as a conversion allows you to make mobile conversions more meaningful and stops it skewing your stats too much. There also may need to be some serious work done on the customer journey to try to understand cross-device behaviour and conversion.

Some businesses are doing intricate work joining a user’s mobile and desktop cookie based on their email address. This not only helps with attribution, but also improves their behavioural knowledge and budget placement and helps them understand interactions in the buying funnel.

There is, however, another school of thought. While some businesses are really trying to nail down every data stream and fill all the gaps, others are less worried about the detail. They simply get enough data to make an educated assumption and run with it. It takes, in their opinion, too much time to try and nail it down absolutely, time that is better spent testing and learning.

Devices and Futureproofing

Key to mobile experience however, is the device itself. All the data and behavioural insight about mobile phones in the world isn’t going to necessarily ring true for a smart watch. As technology is constantly changing and evolving, your strategy and infrastructure needs to be able to keep up.

For example, tablet traffic and conversion has been king of the devices. However, as phones are starting to get larger, Heads of Ecommerce are noticing that tablet traffic is slowing. If you’ve built your site around tablet then you are not future proof.

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