Search Marketing Influencer Series – Yory Wurmser (Part 1)
Yory Wurmser is Principle Retail Analyst at eMarketer, the leading research firm for digital marketers. He writes reports about three core questions facing retailers today: how consumers spend their time; how consumers spend their money; and what marketers are doing to reach their target consumers. Some of his most recent reports have addressed topics, such as mobile advertising, omnichannel marketing, and proximity media.
Let’s discuss one of your specialties: m-commerce. How are smartphones influencing the retail environment?
There are two ways to look at m-commerce: 1) how mobile influences sales overall (both in-store and online) and 2) how transactions are taking place directly on mobile devices.
Our research has shown that smartphone usage is influencing nearly half of all consumer purchase decisions, regardless of whether those purchase journeys are happening online or offline. Looking up product information, reading reviews, and sharing content with friends and family is just part of this equation. For this reason, it’s safe to say that a majority of U.S. consumers likely made a purchase via a mobile device at some point over the past year.
Though, in spite of mobile’s growth in the retail space, actual mobile transactions are still relatively small, reflecting only a rather tiny percentage of overall retail sales. In our research we’ve seen that less than 2% of sales are actually taking place via mobile devices. So, in following suit to what we’ve seen in the digital space overall – where nearly one quarter of sales are now directly being attributed to e-commerce – mobile is clearly the next area for growth as well as where retailers will really need to step up their game.
Nearly 25% of all e-commerce sales are made via mobile today? Does this diminish the role of desktop?
In 2016, we’re seeing a huge trend toward the use of mobile and other retail-oriented devices embedded into the (now multi-channel) shopper journey. Thanks in part to major user experience improvements in the digital space across desktop, tablet, and mobile in recent years – such as optimized or responsive websites and easier checkout protocols – m-commerce is poised to grow a bit faster than initially expected.
This does not mean, however, that laptops, large desktop screens, full keyboards, and the like do not still have an important role to play in the over-arching shopper journey. Even though we are starting to see increased mobile click activity in the retail space, the majority of conversions still happen via desktop. What this tells us is that most consumers, at least for the time being, use mobile primarily as a research tool – to read reviews, look-up directions, find contact information, and so on – but not necessarily to transact. It seems as though many consumers still feel as though the desktop experience is much simpler and easier to navigate compared to mobile, especially when it comes to making an actual transaction.
Keep in mind that how we view and measure both conversion and attribution across multiple devices and platforms will undoubtedly evolve as mobile’s role expands. For example, if a consumer searches on one device (mobile phone) and transacts on another (home desktop), do marketers consistently attribute those related actions to the same consumer? The jury’s still out.
To be continued in Part 2…