American Marketer


On mobile commerce conversion

August 7, 2012


By Stefano Colonna

I recently reviewed the list of retailers ranked from 501 to 600 in Internet Retailer’s "Second 500 Guide" (revenue range: $8 million to$13 million dollar per year) to determine how many of them are mobile-optimized: only 30 percent, meaning that 70 percent of the listed online merchants still have not taken the first step towards mobile commerce.

This is surprising if you consider how much revenue these retailers are leaving on the table. What this will do is lower conversion rates when their customers view their ecommerce Web site on mobile devices, a habit which is accelerating at a rapid pace.

For transparency: an average conversion rate with a mobile-optimized site is less than 1 percent. This is due to rendering of the pages in addition to other factors such as mobile checkout and consumer engagement.

We are rapidly approaching the point where everybody is talking about mobile, but apart from the hype, do retailers really know what to do and or how to get started on mobile to boost sales?

We have compiled a checklist for mobile commerce from our years of experience in this field.

For online merchants:

 Create a mobile site for your store. The mobile Web is a precursor to having an iPhone or Android application (which an online merchant may never require)

 Set URL redirection, so that your natural traffic is redirected to your mobile store when people search on Google via mobile and automatically detect/optimize for the right mobile device

 Set product redirection. If consumers find your product on Google and you redirect them to your mobile home page, then you need to dedicate other clicks to find the product sourced on Google

 Use a gateway that is mobile-optimized: not all gateways are optimized correctly for mobile, resulting in a negative impact on conversions

 Do not think mobile is like ecommerce: mobile marketing is different. Work a lot on deals, bundles, promotions and limited-time specials. Test and refine to maximize sales conversion on mobile

 Give a mobile advantage. Free shipping, discount coupons, daily deals – why should I buy it now and not think a little bit more on this? Create true impulse sales opportunities on mobile

We see big online merchants just relying on natural traffic barely reaching 1 percent conversion rate and other small guys with a mobile attitude that create deals with around 15 percent conversion rate in minutes. Mobile is impulse – it is now or never.

For retailers:

 You are a restaurant or a beauty salon and may have run a promo with a deal vendor discounting your price by 50 percent and on top of that paying 50 percent commission on the Internet

 You do not need a complete mobile store, you do not have time and few consumers really care about your Web site. Have you ever watched the Web site of your favourite restaurant?

 You just need to create deals and promos: engage with your customers, send out mobile deals and bring them to your store

 You can sell coupons via mobile promotions and attract people to your store. Payment can be immediate on mobile or at your store

 A deal creator is helpful, and if it were integrated with your point-of-sale system, that would be super.

Stefano Colonna is founder of Movylo Shop, Turin, Italy. Reach him at