Smartphone E-Commerce: Growth Industry Or A Passing Fad?

Using smartphones for browsing ecommerce sites and for placing orders has become a common practice among users in various parts of the world. While PC still rules the roost in the ecommerce industry, Tablets and Smartphones are not far behind. Monetate did various reports on smartphone ecommerce and found that the growth in mobile phone ecommerce was a whopping 103% in 2012.

You would think that the debate is settled here, but unfortunately, the conversion rate through smartphones is really low; some sources have reported it to be as low as 1.39%, behind Tablets’ 3.23% and PC’s (traditional desktops and laptops) 3.51%.

Although 2012 may go down in history as the year when most ecommerce sites converted to being mobile friendly, the high traffic with low conversion rate does not bid well for smartphone ecommerce. Tablets were nowhere in the picture when it comes to ecommerce traffic, but their high conversion rate makes them a serious factor in the industry.

What does this mean for the smartphone ecommerce industry? First of all, smartphones ecommerce traffic is growing exponentially, so there is no way an online business can afford to neglect the potential customers. Secondly, the low conversion rates can mean two things:

  1. Mobile friendly ecommerce websites have failed to persuade visitors to buy due to design flaws, or marketing strategy flaws.
  2. It’s psychological, people have been buying and selling using their laptops and desktops for a long time, and are not comfortable making financial commitments on their phones.

Although we personally know people who browse products using their iPhones, but only place orders using their PCs; still the second argument has many flaws in it. If people are such creatures of habit, why do tablets have a conversion rate almost equal to traditional devices? And why is traffic from mobile devices increasing at such a significant rate?

This brings us back to the first argument. To drive more convertible traffic from smartphones, web owners have to come up with better strategies. QR codes are one form of marketing strategy that derives highly convertible traffic through smartphones, so perhaps similar strategies need to be adopted.

If we speculate the future of smartphone ecommerce strictly on the basis of conversion rate, then the future appears bleak at best. However, if we look at the increase in traffic, it seems like a growth industry. That is why more and more websites are becoming mobile friendly, and are offering mobile apps that can be used to purchase their products.

Even if someone browses your products and spends a few seconds on your website, it is better than having no visitors whatsoever. So we strongly recommend making your website mobile friendly, it may not earn you instant cash, but it will help your brand become more recognizable and accessible to a larger market.

Another important factor to consider here is the impressive growth rate of the smartphone industry as well. As more and more people gain access to smartphones, and as ecommerce traffic driven through smartphones grows, a 1.39% conversion rate will become extremely profitable? What do you think?

This article was sponsored by Sears Commerce Services.  e-Commerce sellers can grow their business through Sell on Sears and Fulfilled by Sears.

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