Retailers the world over are well into their holiday preparedness plans, and the need to plan around mobile devices is acute this year. When we wrote about smartphone and tablet use back in 2016, our guidance focused on the growing importance of mobile optimization in light of the growing move toward omni-channel shopping experiences. That trend remains in place today, but smartphones have become even more pervasive in the past two years and consumer behaviors are making mobile readiness even more important.
To start, ecommerce brands must ensure they are moving to a responsive, mobile-optimized site build. If you aren’t engaging in responsive design, you’re already setting yourself behind the competition because you’ll need to take extra time and effort to optimize for mobile after creating your initial web build. However, the evolution of mobile commerce has happened so quickly that we’ve already reached the point at which mobile is increasingly the first place consumers go to shop, especially when talking about younger, millennial shoppers.
How millennials are shaping mobile commerce
“Millennial parents are driving many of today’s pressing ecommerce trends.”
The National Retail Federation recently released a study detailing how millennial parents are transforming longstanding consumer trends. With more millennials reaching their late 20s and 30s, the market of millennial parents is skyrocketing, so much so that 1 million millennial women become mothers each year and 50 percent of all children today have parents who are considered millennials. These tech-savvy consumers are disrupting longstanding shopping patterns as they enter the parenting stage of life.
According to the NRF, millennial parents are driving many of today’s pressing ecommerce trends. Consider a few key points of comparison:
- 78 percent of millennial parents use their phones to research when shopping, compared to 58 percent with the rest of the parenting population.
- 71 percent of millennial parents use their phones to handle payments or place an order, while just 51 percent of the general population does so.
- 71 percent of millennial parents will use their phone for reviews, customer service chats or returns, with just 43 percent of the general population engaging in such practices via mobile.
Older shopping demographic groups are still embracing mobile, but millennials are pushing smartphones and tablets from key components of the ecommerce industry into primary devices for shopping.
Mobile as the new ecommerce normal
A Bloomberg report explained that mobile is emerging as the future of ecommerce. Led by entrepreneurs who are active on social media, the ecommerce industry is shifting into a relationship-focused model in which influencers post on Instagram and use social video to highlight their products, creating the equivalent of a virtual shopping mall that consumers access predominantly via smartphone. With brands and consumers sharing photos and videos of exciting products and the experiences that come from those offerings, virtual, mobile-enabled shopping is becoming the new normal.
According to Bloomberg, this transition to social commerce via mobile is pushing smartphones into place as the primary channel for ecommerce among many user groups, giving emerging brands a chance to stand and creating an easier entry point in the market by allowing organizations to focus more heavily on a single channel – mobile.
Brands preparing for this year’s holiday season can’t afford to neglect the growing role mobile commerce is playing in the industry. Beyond making sure you’ve moved to a responsive site design, ecommerce brands may also want to:
- Employ social commerce extensions and APIs to integrate with Instagram and similar channels.
- Reconsider their site design in light of mobile’s increasingly dominant role. Responsive can simplify mobile deployment, but a mobile-friendly visual style can make your brand stand out.
- Unify operations for an omnichannel experience that ensures mobile users have the same quality of experience as those shopping in alternative locations.
This may be the year where mobile becomes the new normal for ecommerce as millennials age into a larger place in the market and social commerce grows to take full advantage of the convenience offered by smartphones and tablets. It’s not too late to tweak your holiday plans if your site isn’t as mobile-ready as you’d like. Contact Pixafy today and we can help you define the most important tactics to optimize around mobile and provide both technical and design services to help you prepare for the holidays.