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Why Retailers Must Optimize Mobile Sites

Mobile-optimized sites drive site interaction, conversions

July 20, 2015 | Retail & Ecommerce | Mobile

Mobile devices are driving a web design evolution, and recent research emphasizes the impact mobile optimization can have on retailers. According to Criteo data, among US digital retailers that had a mobile-optimized website, mcommerce accounted for 31% of ecommerce transactions during Q2 2015. In comparison, mobile drove just 22% of ecommerce transactions for retailers that hadn’t optimized—far below the 30% average overall.

Mcommerce Transaction Share Among US Digital Retailers that Have vs. Do Not Have a Mobile-Optimized Website, Q2 2015 (% of total ecommerce transactions)

Mobile optimization boosts site interaction and conversions. Visitors to optimized sites viewed nearly three products on average—a figure that dropped to 2.3 for those not optimized. The gap was even wider when it came to add-to-basket rates, which were 1.5 times higher on mobile-optimized sites (12.0%) than nonoptimized ones (8.2%).

In all, mobile-optimized sites saw an average conversion rate of 3.4%, vs. 1.6% for nonoptimized sites. However, Criteo noted that purchase rate differences weren’t as important—instead, creating an optimal browsing experience and making users comfortable stocking up baskets were key.

Still, retailers have been slow to jump on the bandwagon. For example, January 2015 polling by Retail Systems Research found that just 26% of retailers worldwide had piloted or implemented mobile responsive design, and three in 10 had no intention to do so. Promisingly, 43% had budgeted or planned for this.

Those starting off would be wise to focus on optimizing for smartphones first. According to Criteo, the device type continued to expand its majority stake in mcommerce transactions in Q2 2015, hitting 54%—with iPhones responsible for 66% of that total. While conversion rates were higher on tablets and desktops, Criteo explained that smartphones drove more transactions due to higher traffic levels—a trend that’s not likely to stop as larger-screen advanced handsets continue to emerge.

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