In the past five years, smartphones have gone from being a novelty to being ubiquitous. Mobile is no longer the future; it is very much the present. According to new estimates from eMarketer, mobile shopping is having a huge impact in the e-commerce world and has contributed to an increasing share of US retail e-commerce sales.
This year alone, 15% of all online retail sales, roughly $39 billion, will happen on a mobile device. That number is up from 11% in 2012, and eMarketer projects that by 2017, the percentage will rise to 25%. As more and more e-commerce merchants understand the necessity for going mobile, many still question whether they should focus on creating a mobile responsive site or a mobile app.
According to an article on ThinkMobile, the debate as to which platform is best for displaying a website on a mobile device is becoming antiquated, though it has yet to be fully resolved. ThinkMobile points to the fact that of the over 1,785,000 apps in the marketplace, only 200,000 of those were created using the HTML5 language.
They also point out that native apps beat out HTML5 apps on a number of key areas such as a richer user experience (HTML5 has 30-50 device capabilities whereas native has access to over 6,000), overall performance (native loads faster), timely access to new OS innovations (Apple and Google offer, on average, 1-3 big updates a year), and security (the security of data in transit and at rest).
To be fair, they also declare HTML5 the winner on a few points as well, mainly citing lower cross platform development costs, availability of programming expertise, and immediate updates and distribution control.
Other voices in the mobile space such as Getelastic.com contend that user behavior is geared more toward HTML5 responsive sites than native apps citing research conducted by Flurry which indicates only 5% of mobile shopping is done on mobile apps. They also point out that the World Wide Web Consortium deems HTML5 “feature complete,” and project that a long-term outlook will shift away from native development once all the hype dies down.
With over six million members signed up, ideeli – which offers online-only sales of fashion, home and beauty items – is one of the fastest growing private companies in the U.S.
A growing number of mobile customers, along with an inventory of over three thousand brand partners to maintain, meant the company needed to get to market fast with a personalized web experience for all six million of their members without disrupting their existing workflow.
Ideeli’s business is a 100% e-commerce business, so when all of their sales come through online channels, being mobile-friendly is not an option — it’s a business imperative. Working with Mobify’s design team, they enhanced user experience first for their smartphone users, and when that channel saw great success, they enhanced user experience for their tablet customers.
Ideeli’s business depends heavily on email alerts and social media sharing on Facebook, and they knew they needed to offer an intuitive shopping experience for their customers no matter what link they followed or what device they used. Mobify’s platform allowed ideeli’s website to be found consistently at the same URL address across all devices. This was a key to their marketing success, as redirecting users to separate m-dot sites would have fragmented user experience which would have had a negative impact on conversion rates.
Since time is of the essence when ideeli is offering a private sale – the company took advantage of Mobify’s Performance Suite features which made each page of their website not only responsive but super fast. This reduced their bounce rate and increased customer engagement.
Since the move to mobile, ideeli has seen triple-digit growth in mobile revenue for consecutive years, and users have experienced 25-50% faster load times on their mobile devices than even on desktops.
People often have a harder time using touch screens, trying to hit a target that was designed for a mouse pointer. Ideeli’s site used large buttons and clear text labels to help customers experience fewer errors.
Allowing users to swipe to see more product images frees up space to display important information and calls to action, like the ‘Add to Cart’ button.
Ideeli’s cart has a timed checkout which encourages customers to complete the transaction they started. The form is optimized for touch so people can fill it out without unnecessary hassles.
Whichever platform business owners decide to use, one thing is clear: for a business to stay relevant and increase its yearly revenue, it has to follow where the market is going; and the market is going mobile.