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4 E-Commerce Considerations for the REAL Year of Mobile

Steve Tutelman

2012: It’s the year of mobile.

2013: It’s the year of mobile.

2014: It’s the year of mobile.

2015: We’re serious now; it’s really  the year of mobile.

Sound familiar? It’s the message e-commerce marketers have been hearing since Apple revolutionized the mobile phone in 2007. It may sound overplayed, but each year it’s true. The graph for mobile traffic is certainly up and to the right, with an increasing percentage of overall e-commerce traffic coming from mobile devices.

Given that the consumer shopping journey begins largely with search, and more specifically with Google, retailers should be looking hard at the best ways to meet the mobile shopper on their Google search journey. Here are four considerations for e-commerce marketers when developing a mobile strategy for search channels:

  1. Understand your customers’ mobile motivations: Consumers are finicky when it comes to mobile shopping. Despite increasing mobile traffic and higher click-through rates in certain channels like Google Shopping, mobile conversion rates are still painfully low, creating a return on investment (ROI) challenge when it comes to ad spend in these channels. It’s important then for e-commerce marketers to understand the mobile motivations of their specific customer base and try and factor that into ROI calculations. Do your customers use mobile to do research? Showroom? Read reviews? Understanding the “how and why” will help you better meet the needs of your customer and increase the chances of an eventual conversion.

  1. Smooth the search-to-transaction journey: All of this mobile experience talk should be channeled into action to achieve the #1 goal; increase conversion rates and engender loyalty with a smooth search-to-transaction journey. With Google Shopping gaining prominence in e-commerce digital marketing, the marketer’s focus should shift from the landing page to the product page, with a clean layout and intuitive checkout at the top of the priority list. Once you get that click, the product-driven customer already has intent to purchase; it’s your job so make it easy for the user to see the product and purchase.

  1. To bid or not to bid? Given the conversion rates associated with mobile shoppers, one popular tactic retailer’s use in PLA campaigns is to bid all mobile traffic down so as to eliminate or severely limit the mobile shopper’s access to PLAs. But this is a questionable and risky process. What about brand and product awareness? What about cross-device conversions? Is mobile the consumer’s go-to research/decision device, with the desktop only used to actually make the purchase? Not appearing in the “mobile research” phase of the purchase funnel could have an overall detrimental effect on top line revenue.

  1. Use Your Data: Speaking of ROI – grab the quantitative marketing guru in your office, and buy her a drink (or two). Looking at Google Shopping and other PLA channels, ask your quantitative pal to evaluate which product attributes seem to affect mobile performance – category, price point, etc. Once the catalog has been segmented as granularly as possible into mobile vs. non-mobile performers, call your Google Shopping expert and start to structure your campaign in a way that lets you get more aggressive on the strong mobile performers. Bid accordingly – and watch the money (and new customers) flow in. Oh, and hit that ever-important ROI goal.

Keep in mind – these aren’t one-time exercises. Mobile conversion rates can change significantly and quickly, fluctuating in both directions. So pay attention, and make sure you are evaluating your mobile strategy regularly to maximize the mobile opportunity.


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