Mobile ecommerce: It’s not the device, it’s the experience

Picture the last thing you bought online and where you were when you made the purchase. Now, picture making that same purchase in the same place on a desktop computer. If you made your purchase while in the car, on the subway or while walking your dog, what you envision might look like the first frame of a comedy. While funny, lugging around a desktop and its myriad of accessories anytime you want to shop on the go isn't convenient or preferred for many of us — which is probably why 80% of respondents from our recent ecommerce trends survey shop online with mobile devices. Forbes offers further evidence that mobile is the go-to, predicting that mobile ecommerce generated revenue will reach $3.56 trillion by year-end.

Mobile ecommerce goes beyond mobile phones

As we learned from our survey respondents, mobile ecommerce is less about the device and more about the value it adds to daily life. This includes the customer experience across expanding online shopping channels. Prioritizing and optimizing mobile ecommerce ensures brands are in customers’ back pockets, ready to serve them from a mountain top or mattress topper — but more on that in a minute.

An illustrated icon depicting a phone with a shopping bag on the screen

The best mobile ecommerce experiences give customers...

1. Freedom to stay home

Saturdays used to be reserved for shopping sprees and Sundays for trips to the supermarket. With mobile ecommerce becoming increasingly preferred, many are staying put and still getting their shopping done.

Two-thirds of survey respondents say they’ve used mobile websites to purchase something from the comfort of their beds while one-third candidly admit to shopping from the loo. These data points show that mobile commerce isn’t about the device customers browse on but the convenience and transportable nature of the experience.

Illustrated icon of a person shopping from home

2. More hours in the day (kind of)

Any way you slice it, there are just 24 hours in a day. Still, mobile ecommerce cuts down the time customers spend commuting to physical stores, browsing aisles and waiting in snaking checkout lines. According to a recent census, individuals are spending two hours less a month shopping as compared to reported shopping times from the early 2000s. What customers do with those two extra hours is entirely up to them. 

Mobile ecommerce gifts customers a greater presence in the here and now. Customers don’t have to choose between participating in life and preparing for it by purchasing the necessities — they can do both by doing the latter in the most streamlined, strategic way possible. 

Additionally, quick (and increasingly free) shipping seemingly bends time by uniting customers with their products even sooner. It seems like this development was made specifically for gifting during those choice “of-course-I-didn’t-forget” special occasions. 

Illustrated icon of an hourglass

3. Hybrid shopping options

Mobile ecommerce offers consumers the freedom to shop from their preferred location. For 33% of survey respondents, that means purchasing an item online while within the walls of a brick-and-mortar store. This is an example of multichannel retail, an area of commerce that survey participants indicate lends itself to the consideration phase of the buyer’s journey, particularly when making larger purchases. For 47% of survey respondents purchases costing $500 and above are best done in person.  

With multichannel browsing and buying, customers can inspect a product’s quality and features without feeling pressured to purchase it immediately. When the timing feels right, they can visit the store's mobile app on their smartphone and order the product in a matter of minutes. Alternatively, browsing online and buying in-store — which 87% of survey respondents say they occasionally do — lets shoppers compare and narrow down products. In this instance, ecommerce market competition, product details and reviews drive decisions. When consumers are ready to commit to a product, they can use online stock lists and store locators to purchase a product in-store that same day, free of shipping costs.

Illustrated icon of a person shopping through mobile ecommerce

Content provides the context for mobile ecommerce

As with multichannel shopping, mobile shopping includes elements of consideration. Browsers consult product descriptions, peruse FAQs and ogle over customer reviews — usually the best and worse — before filling their cart and inputting those sacred 16 digits on the front of their credit card. Content elevates products and brands providing the context mobile users need to make purchases with confidence.

Because content is intertwined with ecommerce, more and more digital-smart ecommerce businesses are selecting and finding value in API-first content solutions to power their tech stack. These options support consistent, speedy, scalable ecommerce sites and user experiences built to convert mobile shoppers. This type of technology also offers the utmost convenience to the developers and content creators building those experiences. 

Illustrated icon of a laptop with a wayfinder in front of it

The best content solutions for mobile experiences support…

1. Omnichannel delivery

A content platform like Contentful supports structured content which can be reused and referenced across ecommerce tech stacks. This sustainable technology and content strategy reduces maintenance and the chance of error while presenting a unified brand experience at every touchpoint — an aspect of online shopping which 80% of survey respondents say is important. And because content and code are decoupled, your brand’s product information can live on mediums beyond web and mobile. It can be read by Alexa, Siri, Cortana and any other virtual assistants — or traditionally unconventional commerce channels like AR/VR — that (might literally) introduce themselves in the future.

Illustrated icon of three items loading

2. Quick loading

Second to a consistent brand experience is quick delivery. With mobile ecommerce representing frictionless and boundary-free shopping, content solutions with reliable content delivery networks are becoming every ecommerce brand’s best friend. CDNs cache content and improve page load times by communicating with in-network servers nearest to the consumer. With traffic spread across servers, the chance of delivery error decreases, meaning consumers can continue browsing and making online purchases without pause. Limiting latency is hugely important. If you aren’t sure why just ask Amazon how much it lost in ecommerce sales during 100 milliseconds of downtime in 2017. (In case you don’t hear back, the answer is a whopping $8 billion — which makes the case for page speed optimization.)

Illustration of directional vectors/arrows splitting and combining as a representation of flexibility

3. Seamless integrations

API-first content solutions help you connect robust content with your ecommerce platform, PIM and any other technology you might need. In short, they increase the functionality of online stores and shopping apps. Translation, personalization and data analytics are general API buckets that mobile ecommerce experiences might draw tools from. Each of these helps brands understand and communicate with consumers on a deeper level. This aspect of a content platform is also crucial to connecting multichannel shopping experiences as it supports additions like QR codes, store maps and real-time stock lists.

Now that you know what type of ecommerce experiences shoppers want, why they want them and the type of technology that best supports them, go optimize your brand’s ecommerce website and strategy! Put mobile ecommerce — and a content platform — at the center and free your customers from the constraints of their desktops.

Looking for more ecommerce customer trends? Check out our full survey findings here

About the author

Don't miss the latest

Get updates in your inbox
Discover how to build better digital experiences with Contentful.
add-circle arrow-right remove style-two-pin-marker subtract-circle