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Ken BurkeFounder and CEOMarketLive
Mobile played a major role for retailers in 2014’s holiday season. Ken Burke, founder and CEO of omnichannel ecommerce toolset provider MarketLive, spoke with eMarketer’s Lisa Barron about the importance of the medium, as well as some of the factors helping or hindering ecommerce growth in general.
eMarketer: MarketLive recently released its annual Q4 Performance Index. What were the key findings?
Ken Burke: There was an uptick in mobile traffic and revenue. Mobile traffic grew 47%, and smartphone revenue was up 111%.
Retailers that we work with also reported seeing 50% more traffic coming from mobile during the holiday season. That’s a huge shift from before.
eMarketer: What’s driving this increase in mobile traffic?
Burke: One of the main drivers is the fact that email is predominantly viewed on mobile. Mobile is getting better, and retailers are beginning to get that. A big trend in this industry is responsive design—the ability to render a site on any device—and it’s taking off quickly.
Additionally, payments are getting easier. There’s Visa Checkout, Amazon’s 1-Click ordering, MasterCard’s MasterPass and PayPal. These companies are all vying to own the mobile transaction. The use of mobile is becoming more prolific as these alternative payments develop and as mobile sites become better, faster and more intelligent.
eMarketer: To what extent are consumers buying more online vs. in-store?
Burke: If you’re talking about percentage of increases, the volume is increasing more online than it is offline. Many things are driving that, including shipping offers, which are getting better.
eMarketer: What about buy-online, pick up in-store options?
Burke: Buy online and pick up in-store is growing, but it’s not growing as fast as it should. The feature has tremendous value for the consumer, but retailers are behind because they can’t get their own internal infrastructure squared away in order to guarantee that the experience is at the level that it needs to be.
Most retailers don’t have inventory visibility across all their stores, which is a big problem. They don’t have the ability to ship from a store—they don’t have an internal infrastructure to handle this. Retailers are going to need to put in an infrastructure in order to support this trend.
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