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Mobile Shopping Gaining Importance in Ecommerce

2011-01-12 zippycart

A new report released by market research firm Foresee reveals that mobile commerce (mcommerce) is gaining importance in the ecommerce sphere. The report, which surveyed 10,000 users at top ecommerce retail sites, showed that about 11% of shoppers made an mcommerce purchase this holiday season, up from 2% a year ago.

Shopping through mobile versions of sites or apps is definitely an important revenue stream. Amazon earned about a billion dollars this year through mobile sales, and eBay reports that sales through its app were up 134% over-year. However, the report seems to show that (at least right now) ecommerce outlets can best be served by making their mcommerce platforms as streamlined and easy to use as possible.

The biggest use of mcommerce resources by shoppers was to look for information about a specific product or store location while out and about. Shoppers check to see where a store is, operating hours, and to see if their desired item is in stock and how much it costs. Thirty percent of those surveyed used their phones in these ways. That’s almost three times last year’s number. Ecommerce retailers take note: those shoppers who identified themselves as being “very satisfied” with a store’s mcommerce side were 30% more likely to shop there, both in person or online.

These numbers might not sound like much initially, however, if viewed in a historical context with the internet as a whole, there are some parallels. In the early days of internet shopping, shoppers were far more likely to use the internet for product research, whether they ended up buying it online or in person. While 73% of users researched online, only 46% made any purchases online. Despite the fact that mcommerce sales have tripled from 396 million in 2008 to 1.2 billion in 2009, this still only represents a small fraction of the ecommerce picture. Keeping users engaged and building brand loyalty will go a long way towards making mcommerce pay off for ecommerce outlets of all sizes.