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Making Mobile Matter this Holiday Season

It's evident that mobile has become the go-to shopping method for most consumers. In fact, they are continuing to browse and buy from multiple networks, making the mobile shopping experience more important than ever. With smartphone subscriptions projected to increase by an average of 15 percent a year - reaching six billion by 2020, [Ericsson Mobility Report, June 2015] it's no question that mobile has become an important consideration for retailers. Today's consumers use their smartphones throughout the shopping experience, so retailers must take into consideration these growth statistics to prepare for the holiday rush, which is just around the corner! 

The Facts:  
A recent survey indicated that 75 percent of store shoppers use their mobile devices while shopping in stores [Internet Retailer, 75 percent of store shoppers use their mobile devices in-store, April 9, 2015], and mobile usage is said to have influenced upwards of 50 percent of retail store sales during the 2014 holiday season. [Deloitte, Deloitte forecast: Retail holiday sales to increase 4 to 4.5 percent, September 24, 2014] Digital interactions are expected to influence 64 cents of every dollar spent - in other words, $2.2 trillion - in retail stores by the end of 2015. [Deloitte, Deloitte Digital study: Digitally influenced sales in retail brick-and-mortar stores to reach $2.2 trillion by year-end, May 13, 2015] 

The Importance of the Mobile Experience: 
One of the biggest drivers of online retail sales is user experience. Consumers expect retailers to provide a dynamic and personalized experience that makes the shopping process truly enjoyable. For example, greet customers as they enter the store with special offers through geo-fencing, send personalized emails or tailored offers based on previous purchase behaviors. According to recent research, 52 percent of smartphone users expect pages to load in two seconds or less, and 20 percent expect pages to load instantly, [TNS and Akamai, Performance Matters: 9 Key Consumer Insights Report, 2015] so not only must the site be visually dynamic but it must also perform at lightning-speeds. 

Failing to meet consumer expectations can dramatically impact a company's bottom line - more than half of US smartphone owners have abandoned a mobile transaction because of usability issues, slow loading times and poor navigation and check out, costing retailers as much as $24 billion in revenues. [Jumio, Mobile Consumer Insights, 2015] 
Preparing for the Future: 
To stay ahead of the trends and minimize the risk of falling behind in the market, retailers must proactively think about their future mobile strategy which also includes plans for engaging with mobile consumers in-store. For example, Target already offers an in-store app that allows shoppers to build their weekly shopping list and view an interactive map of each Target store. [The Washington Post, The surprising way smartphones are changing the way we shop, July 16, 2015]  

With the Internet literally at our fingertips, consumers expect to be able to not only connect but connect quickly to anything, anywhere. It's evident that retailers must plan for the future of mobile and ensure that their websites are reliable and efficient on any mobile device to truly optimize the full user experience in preparation for the holiday rush.

*A longer version of this article, "The Optimization Imperative: Finetune Your Mobile Shopping Experience," has also appeared in Apparel Magazine.