Mobile Optimization Plays Key Role in 80% of Consumer Purchase Journeys

Consumers say mobile is the most valued platform for seeking product information.

Mobile & Apps

As expected, mobile advertising and commerce has experienced another strong year of growth and increased revenues. It's a topic that has been well covered in the digital marketing press; there's no shortage of articles covering the steady rise of mobile in adoption, usage, and increased revenue streams that brands are achieving with the channel. A question explored less often is where mobile shopping ties in with consumer purchase journeys, and what the implications of understanding this consumer behavior is for marketers.

While studies often offer extremely healthy statistics, it has been traditionally difficult for brands to attribute mobile interactions. For this reason studies revealing exactly how and when consumers are using their mobiles in their purchase journeys has been explored less often. Such data is nonetheless valuable as it provides brands with insights on the touchpoints they can look to fulfill via their mobile experience delivery.

A recent study has resolved to address the gap in knowledge via the most direct means possible: asking the people who use smartphones!

Research by the Internet Advertising Bureau UK (IAB), in collaboration with research agency Kantar Media, surveyed more than 2,000 British smartphone users between the ages of 16 to 70, asking them questions on how they were using mobile devices in their purchase journeys, and their changing relationships with traditional media. In addition, the study considered the potential implications for brands that don’t have a mobile optimized site.

Seeking Product Information

Tellingly, the study revealed that mobile phones were the number one device for smartphone owners (ages 16 to 34) when looking for information about products, placing mobile as a key touchpoint in the research and evaluation stage of the purchase funnel. Laptop computers were the second most popular device for looking up product information.

Seventy-three percent of mobile users said they would seek an alternative source of information after experiencing an unresponsive, non-optimized mobile site, effectively prematurely ending consumer journeys. Therefore, it’s essential that marketers provide an optimized mobile site experience for product information.

It certainly represents a significant problem for brands and ecommerce sites; the survey revealed that 52 percent of smartphone owners had visited a unresponsive mobile site in the last month, with 69 percent of consumers calling it a “frustrating” experience.

Mobile Shopping In The Holiday Period

In another recent study, location-based mobile platform Retale surveyed 1,000 men and women in the U.S. between October 20 and 27 to get a picture of current consumer shopping behavior and trends in anticipation of this year’s crucial winter shopping period.

Again, Retale’s findings confirmed the crucial importance of mobile in fulfilling a number of touchpoints in consumer purchase journeys. A large majority (73 percent) of respondents said that they planned to use their smartphones for holiday shopping, with 96-97 percent using their devices to find deals, compare prices, and research products. Other popular uses of mobile were accessing coupons (92 percent), finding stores (89 percent), and transacting directly via the device (85 percent).

12 Essential Mobile Stats and Facts

According to IAB:

  1. 81 percent of users in the UK use the Internet on their mobiles, either via an app or browser daily.
  2. A even larger proportion, 90 percent, of users aged between 25 and 34 use the Internet on their mobiles, either via an app or browser daily.
  3. Mobile phones were the number one device when looking up product information, for smartphone owners aged between 16 and 34.
  4. 52 percent of smartphone owners said they had visited an unresponsive, non-mobile optimized site in the last month, with 69 percent of these highlighting their experience as “frustrating.”
  5. 59 percent of users said they looked up products on their smartphones or tablets to follow up advertising on traditional media.
  6. 43 percent of mobile users looked up further information on either their smartphones or tablets after being exposed to a brand or product on TV.
  7. The figure was 28 percent for newspapers, 25 percent for outdoor advertisements, and 21 percent for radio and magazines combined.

According to Retale:

  1. 22 percent of consumers said they would do 100 percent of their winter shopping online.
  2. 24 percent said they would do their brick-and-mortar retail stores only.
  3. 54 percent said they would shop both online and in-store.
  4. 73 percent of U.S. consumers plan to use their smartphones for holiday shopping.
  5. The most common mobile shopping activities for users are finding deals (97 percent); comparing prices (96 percent) researching products (96 percent); accessing coupons (92 percent); finding stores (89 percent); and buying directly from the device (85 percent).

‘Mobile-First’ Site Optimizations Complete Consumer Journeys

The overriding takeaway for marketers here is to ensure their sites are optimized for the mobile experience, especially when it comes to the provision of product information that fulfills touchpoints in the research phase of consumer purchase cycles. While this may seem a straightforward proposition, clearly many brands are still struggling, as more than half of users in the UK reported having a poor mobile experience in the past 4 weeks. Providing exceptional mobile experiences is key to tying together user journeys and ensure consumers aren’t deterred.

As IAB’s Senior Research Manager, Hannah Bewley explains:

“The fact that 59 percent of smartphone owners had been prompted by traditional media in the last four weeks to look for more information on products shows that mobile is the glue that holds other media together. The study emphasized the importance of optimizing sites so that consumers are able to browse your site, research your product and transact on the move. With 73 percent not looking for an alternative device if they reach a non-optimized site, brands without a mobile strategy are risking losing customers.”

You can find out more about IAB‘s, and Retales mobiles survey.

Let us know your thoughts on where mobile fits in to the purchase journey. Comment or tweet us @momentologyNews.