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Mobile Visitors Lead to Desktop Sales

Lisa Manthei
Lisa Manthei

Many merchants still dismiss the importance of providing great mobile experiences for their e-commerce shoppers. This isn’t generally due to a lack of awareness that surfing the web from mobile devices is commonplace, but rather, a misinterpretation of analytics data.

Many merchants will say that their traffic and/or conversion rates on mobile devices are relatively low, and therefore determine that mobile shoppers shouldn’t be a core focus for them. However, this can not only be a self-fulfilling prophecy, it can be an outright fallacy.

Mobile Friendliness Makes All the Difference

In regards to traffic, it is important to be aware that the mobile friendliness of your website can directly impact the traffic that you attract. Search engines such as Google use your mobile friendliness to help impact your search engine rankings.

If the user experience on your website is sub-par, they’re less likely to send mobile visitors to your website. Google has even released a free simple test that you can run to see how your site performs according to their standards. In this report, you’ll also see feedback on factors related to loading speed, which is important to all users but especially those on mobile devices who may be in wifi, or a 3G connection through their wireless service provider.

If your site won’t load efficiently, Google is less inclined to promote it within its organic search engine results. Systems like Google AdWords, for those running paid ad campaigns, look at similar factors and use them to determine the Quality Score (QS) of a web page. Google has a vested interest in sending traffic to pages that users will appreciate. Otherwise, they risk frustrating users, who may start to avoid ads, hurting Google’s bottom line. So a poor mobile experience can wind up costing you visitors or limit the numbers of visitors that you receive. This can lead to a false narrative, where you don’t realizing the potential traffic that you could earn if you provided a better mobile experience.

Remember: It’s About the Journey

However, traffic is only one part of the story. The more overlooked topic when looking at mobile conversions is attribution. When most merchants review sales data, they look at last-click attribution. In layman’s terms: which actions immediately preceded a sale.

What they neglect to look at is the more comprehensive journey that the shopper took before making that purchase. While a consumer may have placed an order using a desktop PC, that doesn’t mean that they didn’t first interact with your site from a mobile device. Both B2B and B2C shoppers are likely to conduct research from a mobile device, whether in a taxi, in a boardroom, waiting for lunch, or on their couch. As will all things in life, first impressions matter.

For most e-commerce sites, it’s rare that a shopper makes an instant purchase when they first browse a website. Understanding the customer journey and how you might be losing shoppers early in the sales funnel, is crucial in understanding your long-term conversion rates.

If you were to look at a more holistic data set, you may very well learn that your shoppers often start on one device, and complete a purchase from another. Platforms like Google AdWords have added in features related to cross-device conversions, helping you to better understand how mobile is impacting sales.

Final Thoughts

According to Google’s own published statistics: “Six in 10 internet users start shopping on one device but continue or finish on a different one…”

Once you have a clearer picture, it becomes much easier to make good decisions. For instance, if mobile shoppers are switching to a desktop device to check out, it’s probably because it is either more convenient or because they feel safer doing so.

There are ways of improving not only the layout and speed of your site to be more mobile-friendly, but the checkout experience as well. For example, you might offer payment methods that allow shoppers to check out using a credit card on file with Amazon, PayPal, Apple, or a similar trusted service.

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