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IBM study: Mobile to play major role in online holiday shopping

Armonk, N.Y. - Mobile will continue to play a significant and dominating role in online shopping this holiday season. According to the IBM Retail Holiday Readiness Report, mobile sales for both smartphones and tablets reached a high of 19.1% of all site sales in December 2013, up three-fold from December 2011.

Mobile site traffic reached a record of 38.2% in March 2014, more than double that of March 2012. As a result, the IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark predicts these figures to continue to rise, with mobile accounting for more than 20% of site sales and more than 43% of site traffic to come November 2014.

To succeed this holiday season, IBM advises that retailers will need to pay attention to both device type and operating system to better focus their mobile app and analytics investments, while at the same time ensuring a flawless customer experience between devices and operating systems.
 
Other highlights of the report, compiled from the cloud-based IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark, include:

• Consumers spending more dollars online: Average order value (AOV) and items per order both reached new three-year highs according to the IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark. In terms of online spending, increases in AOV and items per order suggest retailers are savvier than ever when it comes to delivering a streamlined online shopping experience – making it easy for consumers to find items and providing an enticing brand experience. To capitalize on this trend, heading into the holidays, retailers will need to rely on personalization and cross-sell recommendations to further strengthen customer relationships and wallets, the report said.

• Consumer attention spans dwindle: Fueled by the growth of mobile users, who make quick visits to retail sites, online retailers saw average time on site sink to a new low in September 2013 of just 7:09. Page views per session also hit a new bottom of 6.93 in March 2014, two fewer pages than the same period in 2012. 
 
For retailers, this means that, ultimately, shoppers have little tolerance for poor customer experiences – if they can’t find what they need, they’re moving on.
 
To ensure a seamless customer experience this holiday, marketers should consider investing in customer experience management technologies to identify customer struggle and quickly resolve onsite problems, which can lead to lost revenue, according to the report. And to enhance the visitor experience, marketers and retailers might consider improving site navigation, providing useful content like how-to guides and user forums, as well as ensuring a consistent brand image across channels.

Click here for the full report.

© 2014