American Marketer


What mcommerce retailers can learn from a mobile shopping addict

January 24, 2017

Kelly Morrissey is sales director at Dynamic Yield Kelly Morrissey is sales director at Dynamic Yield


By Kelly Morrissey

What do a subway platform, doctor’s waiting room and a lame party have in common? They are all places you are likely to find me shopping on my smartphone.

Instead of scanning through photos on Instagram or reading articles on Facebook, I use my downtime to browse through applications and mobile sites, looking for products that catch my eye.

Often, when I am waiting in line for checkout at the grocery store, I will pull out my phone to browse and add items to my various virtual shopping carts. Heck, I even shop when I am shopping. Talk about meta.

I buy almost everything on my phone. Given what we know about mobile Web conversion – that even though mobile accounts for 60 percent of online traffic, it only results in 16 percent of Web purchases – I am probably not the average mobile consumer.

But frequent, dedicated shopping on my phone has provided a few insights to offer to retailers looking to close the mobile Web conversion gap. Follow these guidelines and you will get more people hooked on mobile shopping.

Product discovery is everything
My favorite mobile shopping apps make it easy to find the products I am likely to add to my cart. In my case, it is black clothing, size small, and size 8 shoes.

The most sophisticated apps and mobile Web sites show me these items when I open them. The bad ones make me re-enter my preferences every time. Guess which ones I use more often?

The best apps also group items in useful ways: according to the brands I like, in the sizes I have previously ordered, and in the colors I prefer. This keeps the numbers of steps, from discovery to purchase, to a minimum.

Remember, people are turning to their phones during moments of boredom, so your mobile platform has to be engaging and entertaining if you want to enable product discovery and purchases from browsers. This kind of personalization matters.

Keep it consistent across all platforms and channels
I once spent 30 minutes browsing on a clothing retailer’s mobile site, adding eight items to my cart, but then had to logout to go start work. I planned to complete the purchase later that day, but when I logged in from my work desktop at lunch, my cart was empty. I was so annoyed that I did not buy anything.

The lack of communication between the retailer’s mobile and desktop sites cost that business more than $300 that day, and compromised my future loyalty.

My behavior and frustration is not unusual.

Nearly half (40 percent) of ecommerce purchases involve more than one device as the consumer progresses through the buying journey.

To keep this shopping cohort happy, retailers must facilitate this fluidity between mobile and desktop shopping. This means making sure that cart contents and shopping preferences are maintained, regardless of which platform the consumer is using.

Mobile shopping is not a sprint – it is a marathon
Very rarely do I add an item to my cart and immediately make a purchase. I see building my mobile shopping cart as a project that takes time.

I usually start in the morning due to email prompts from retailers, adding a few items while waiting for the subway in the morning. I will toss in more while I am eating lunch, and then pare it down the following day before finally buying.

Retailers need to keep this sort of consumer behavior in mind when they consider cart abandonments. They should be less focused on what happens in individual sessions and more interested in what happens over the course of several mobile retail sessions, since it usually takes more than one to convert.

Mobile shopping is done on the go and highly prone to interruption.

Friendly email reminders or special deals can get consumers to return to their carts. After all, they might not have even truly abandoned those carts to begin with.

THERE IS plenty of room for retailers to grow here.

Black Friday 2016 brought in a record breaking $1 billion in mobile sales in just a single day.

And as retailers refine their mobile techniques and strategies, this total will surely keep climbing.

I cannot wait for the masses to join me in mcommerce. Once you mobile shop, you do not stop.

Kelly Morrissey is sales director at Dynamic Yield, New York. Reach her at