Apparel companies and retailers are being told to think mobile-first and that mobile commerce is the future. That’s the problem, it’s in the future, not now.
According to comScore media metrics, consumer spend 59 percent of their time on smartphones, but only 15 percent of shopping dollars are spent through mobile shopping. That isn’t stopping retailers from spending lots of money to create robust mobile shopping sites in order to persuade shoppers to spend more money there.
Forrester Research said U.S. firms doubled their spending on e-commerce software from 2010 to 2014. That figure is expected to rise to $2.09 billion by 2019. Forrester estimates that an average project to develop an e-commerce platform for a large company costs $1 million and 15 percent of the e-commerce projects cost more than $2 million.
“The next five years will be about commerce on the Internet,” said Nitin Mangtani, chief executive officer at PredictSpring. “Social and gaming have already been proven successful, now it’s time for e-commerce.”
There are several reasons why people aren’t using their smartphones to shop. First, consumers don’t trust the privacy of m-commerce transactions with personal information. Next, smartphone shoppers don’t like to share the very information that retailers want. Consumers don’t like sharing their location or enabling retailers to push messages to their devices.
Finally, most don’t want additional apps downloaded on their phones. Overwhelmingly, 39 percent of people only have one-two retailer apps downloaded on their phone. They are mostly using the smartphone to check a store’s location or hours, maybe an order status or get a coupon. If they have one bad experience, like if the app takes too many seconds to load, they delete the app or ignore it altogether.
This is one of the key reasons retailers are investing so much in their mobile apps. They want to make sure if a consumer tries out the app, that it’s a good experience from the start. Kiss Metrics said a one-second delay in a Web site page load time translates into a 7 percent loss in conversions. To put that in sales numbers, that one-second delay could cost an e-tailer that makes $100,000 a day from its mobile sit $2.5 million in lost sales annually.
Conversion is also big problem. 97 percent of mobile shoppers abandon their cart before checking out. It’s such a problem, that Nike highlighted on their recent earnings conference call that it was seeing strong conversion on its mobile site. Retailers are hoping to convince shoppers to finalize a purchase on their smartphones by using a variety of methods like quick and easy “buy-it-now” buttons or follow-up messages.
The m-commerce opportunity can be as much as $700 billion, which is why retailers are willing to invest in the space even if the shoppers aren’t there yet. Also, comScore said that mobile ads work better than desktop ads, so the retailers feel that eventually the investment will pay off. Mangtani believes that with bigger phones and seamless payment options like Apple pay, 2015 will be the biggest year yet for mobile commerce.