Going Mobile? Beware of Left-Brainers

Event Reveals Retailers Falling Behind Consumers' Use of Mobile

I attended Google's ThinkMobile seminar in London last week. The event was part of Google's efforts to shed more light on the Web going mobile and the implications of that for commerce. ThinkMobile attracted nearly 200 delegates from UK companies of all shapes and sizes. Presentations were given by a range of speakers either involved in mobile Web design or who have embraced mobile Web sites as part of their strategy and who were sharing the results.

Google and other presenters cited statistics that mobile access to stores and brands is not only increasing rapidly but should now be regarded as mainstream, with a quarter to one-third of visits coming from mobile devices. For example:

  • In 2010 6 percent of YouTube views were on mobile, in 2012 it is 25 percent
  • In 2010 4 percent of travel searches were on mobile, in 2012 it is 24 percent
  • In 2010 7 percent of entertainment searches were on mobile, in 2012 it is 25 percent
  • In 2010 no visits to Debenhams (a large retailer) site were on mobile, in 2012 it is 30 percent
  • 31 percent of mobile users have made a purchase on a mobile device
  • 17 percent of mobile users have changed their mind while in a store, thanks to a query carried out on a mobile device
  • eBay has more than 1 million listings a week on mobile, and expects about one-third of its transactions to be completed on mobile devices in 2012

Reinforcing these statistics was the message that customers are changing how they use the mobile Web faster than retailers are. Consumers do not differentiate what they are doing by channel or by screen — it's all just access to the same brand. And it's starting to feel strange if a brand doesn't offer access to its site and let people buy things over the main channels, especially mobile (TV less so today, but it's building).

Another element being seen in consumer behaviour is "second screening": the use of smartphones and tablets for research or responding to adverts while watching TV. A third factor was that consumers who engage with a brand on mobile devices are more engaged with the brand, and are likely to spend more with that brand — Debenhams cited a threefold increase in spending among mobile users.

With these factors in mind, there was broad consensus that a "mobile first" design approach should be applied to e-mail and Web sites, with tablet-optimised versions also a high priority. The changes in consumer behaviour have also become a strong reason for retailers to invest in Wi-Fi in stores, so that they can support mobile users' shopping behaviour when they're in the store.

Although the statistics and commercial logic appear strong, direct return on investment is likely to be challenging to measure. With the advent of multiple channels of access to stores and brands, we are seeing more-complicated consumer behaviour. It has become common for buyers to research a product on a mobile device, but delay the purchase until they are sat at a PC, or can visit the store physically.

These types of behaviour across channels are hard to measure, to the extent that it is difficult to put together a business case. Alex von Schirmeister, eBay's head of marketing in Europe, warned the audience at the ThinkMobile event to "beware of left-brainers" — the rational, analytical executives who need hard evidence before making a decision about investment in their mobile site. He told delegates not the wait until they had enough data — the behaviour is already mainstream and brands need to keep up.

This entry was posted on October 12th, 2012 and is filed under Services. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Posted By Martin Garner On October 12th, 2012

(There are no comments yet)
Leave a Comment

Hot News

Team Tweets

CCS Insight
Mobile's now an essential part of shopping on Black Friday, says @IBMWatson https://t.co/i4XfFEDYWg
Follow CCS Insight
Shaun Collins
RT @George_CCS: Free VR headsets all around this holiday season! This one from @EE for #blackfriday #wearables #cardboard https://t.co/H5gZ…
Follow Shaun
Ben Wood
RT @George_CCS: Free VR headsets all around this holiday season! This one from @EE for #blackfriday #wearables #cardboard https://t.co/H5gZ…
Follow Ben
Martin Garner
20%: the battery life left on a @dell #XPS13 on landing at SFO from Heathrow, having spent much of the flight using Excel. Awesome.
Follow Martin
Geoff Blaber
Intriguing. Google applying to FCC for a license to test in 28Ghz and 31Ghz bands https://t.co/HbbrBFlCM1
Follow Geoff
Nicholas McQuire
Love Network Rail's mobility strategy & journey> #NetworkRail rolls out 22k iPhones & iPads, en route to wearables https://t.co/JFFuXuSIvp
Follow Nicholas
Paolo Pescatore
Huge loss to @canalplus. Not only loosing subs but key content rights as well. Massive coup for Altice, #4K too! https://t.co/jL0zWcLLRE
Follow Paolo
Marina Koytcheva
And now BBC's predictions for 2035: even bolder than @CCSinsight 's? :) https://t.co/VxDIRdv1Pk
Follow Marina
Kester Mann
Free overtook Bouygues in 3Q15 based on total subs. Incredible market impact given launch was less than 4 years ago! https://t.co/uc2Lg1zrYl
Follow Kester
Jasdeep Badyal
RT @benwood: Nice to see @FT's @DanielThomasLDN picking up @CCSInsight predictions in this morning's paper! #ccspredicts https://t.co/dX1n6…
Follow Jasdeep
George Jijiashvili
Following successful 'Free Power Bar' promotion, @EE is giving away VR headsets to increase footfall #wearables https://t.co/AKwUjfypiQ
Follow George
Rebecca Morley
CCS’s yearly forecast sees telecoms mergers and rise of wearables - https://t.co/mBGWD8cPZA https://t.co/CZVFEolSXx
Follow Rebecca
Katie Taylor
Nine questions about ISIS you were too embarrassed to ask https://t.co/RdyIqMubRj via @voxdotcom
Follow Katie

Recent Blog Posts

Blog Post
Watson Says It's Mobile Black Friday In the US, One Third of E-Commerce Sales Will Come from Mobi... Read more
Blog Post
The Leisure Class of Wearables The Travel Industry and Smart Bands: A Perfect Fit German... Read more
Blog Post
Loon Launch Google's Big Float The concept of floating base stations ... Read more
More blog