The rise of mobile shopping, and which retailers do it best

The last twelve months have seen retailers adopt a host of new cross-channel shopping technologies, making it easier than ever for customers to buy from a mobile or tablet device both at home and when out shopping.

Through the adoption of in-store crossover functions such as Click and Collect, retailers are now able to combine online, offline and mobile approaches in order to provide customers with a truly omni-channel approach. They can now shop whenever, wherever and however they like.

For example, according to a benchmark survey from IBM, on Thanksgiving in the U.S. 40% of all sales were completed on mobile devices. On Black Friday, 35.3% of sales were on mobile. A similar survey from the National Retail Federation found that on Thanksgiving weekend in 2015 more people shopped online than in stores.

As our latest research has shown, this convergence between online and offline commerce has become a vital part of the mobile shopping experience, with 50% of UK consumers placing “while out shopping” in their top three locations for browsing a mobile device.

As a result, retailers should be looking to approach their customers on both a physical and a digital level – making the most of both platforms in order to generate a more complete user experience. The only question is can they actually achieve it?

Which retailers are doing it right

That is the question that we set out to answer through our annual mobile benchmark study. For the past five years we have been watching and analyzing the behaviour and performance of UK retailers, cataloguing their evolution in our annual commerce report.

This year we set out to take a global approach, expanding our research to include 100 retailer brands across the US, Benelux, the Nordics and Australia. By using these international comparisons alongside independent research into 5,000 consumers across these regions, we have been able to identify how customer expectations are being met around the globe. We also identify the very best omni-channel retailers worldwide.

So, which brands rose to the challenge in 2015? The top five for each region are:

mobile commerce 2015 league table


The two most frequent consumer complaints

While all of these winners displayed both a strong mobile offering and a wider commitment to omni-channel marketing, generally speaking there was still a long way to go. As our research revealed, many consumers still feel that their expectations are not being met by the existing mobile shopping experiences on offer.

Across the globe, our respondents complained that many retailers’ sites and mobile apps were slow and difficult to navigate – two of the most commonly cited consumer frustrations from last year’s report.

Episerver mobile commerce 2015 graph

These frustrations were also reflected in medium-to-low scores through the benchmarking activity on the quality of the retailers’ mobile experiences. While the average score for UK retailers has improved since 2014, it remains at only 57%. For US retailers the average was 50%, followed by 35% for the Nordics, 34% in Australia and 26% in Benelux.

While this leaves significant room for improvement across all regions, retailers should see this as an opportunity to update their offering and, ultimately, improve their ability to meet customer demands. The opportunity exists, and the technology is already here; it’s simply a case of marketers choosing to embrace it – or risk falling behind.

Find out what the best mobile retailers are doing right. Read our analysis in the Episerver Mobile Commerce Benchmark 2015/16.