Mobile Commerce Hype and the Importance of Data

by Erik L'Abbe

As more and more websites develop mobile platforms, an analyst can’t help but wonder about the rationale behind the initiative. Does a mobile site just seem like the way to go, or does the data sing improved conversion rates?

The advantages of mobile platforms should not be ignored. The ability to simplify user engagement while providing a focused experience is sure to impact conversions in a positive manner. However, analytics should be both the beginning and the end; the data should drive the migration towards mobile commerce and the data should steer the platform in improving the user’s experience.

Some clients of ours, looking to grow their sales by taking advantage of low converting mobile traffic, have considered implementing  a mobile version of their websites. As analysts, the first metric to look at is total mobile visits and whether an improved conversion rate would actually make a significant impact on revenue. Then, we take it even further and isolate mobile visits coming from tablets in order to determine the real totals. After all, though tablets are considered mobile devices, they do not live with the same pains as smartphones. Since the screen is larger on tablets, we often see decent conversion rates. As such, tablets should not be considered as part of total mobile traffic. This is also the reason why mobile sites should not be pushed out to tablets. A simplified, focused experience may not be what the tablet user wants.

Overall, high levels of real mobile traffic with lower-than-average conversion rates are a good indication that a mobile platform is worth it. Otherwise, you might just be caught in the hype.

Mobile commerce is gaining in popularity and many websites are rushing to implement mobile-tailored sites. Before you take the plunge, ask yourself if that is really the best thing you can be doing to help your bottom line.

Erik

Erik L'Abbe

Analyst

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