Understanding The Mobile E-commerce Customer


89% of Americans check their phone within five minutes of waking up, according to research by Deloitte. Americans check their phones on average 47 times per day and spend an average of 4.7 hours looking at the internet and social media on their mobiles.


Mobile is changing the way we find information and products. An increase in mobile usage has brought an incredible surge in mobile commerce or m-commerce.


If you want to lead your business into the future, accessible mobile design isn’t enough. You need to create an e-commerce experience that engages with today’s mobile customer.


But who is the mobile e-commerce customer?


Optimizing mobile experience starts first with understanding and attracting the mobile customer.


What are the benefits of mobile e-commerce?

Why do people use mobile e-commerce in the first place? What consumer benefits does mobile have over desktop e-commerce?


There are two key benefits for mobile customers: convenience, experience, and voice search.


1. Convenience

Customers love the ease and convenience of the mobile platform. They can research and shop whenever, wherever they want. 55% of users report that they like mobile e-commerce because they can use it any time, anywhere.


Mobile search is changing drastically. Mobile search means faster, more concise key phrases for an on-the-go searcher. People are more likely to type in the phrases “near me” and “open now,” while searching mobile to find products and services they can use right now.


This convenience brings with it a major challenge for e-commerce businesses. In just a few taps, a customer can quickly and easily research similar products to yours. They can see information and pricing about your competitors in a snap. In fact, 34% of customers have used their mobile device to research products while they’re in the store.


This benefits the customer because they can always find the greatest value. However, this means e-commerce businesses need to consistently monitor competitors’ products and sites in order to win over the mobile consumer.


Read: Micro-Moments And Your Business—How 5 Seconds Changes Everything


Understanding The Mobile E-commerce Customer shopping cart on mobile phone online shopping concept


2. Experience

The goal of mobile commerce is to create a unique experience for the consumer. The focus used to be on mobile accessibility, but mobile has grown at an exponential rate where mobile design is no longer enough.


You need more than just a mobile-friendly site in order to attract customers. You want to use your mobile site to enhance the experience for the user.


For example, some retailers are using augmented reality or messenger apps to create a deeper interaction with their consumers. They also use games or loyalty apps to continuously engage their customers, even when the user isn’t necessarily in “buying mode.”


Developing a unique mobile experience is one of the strongest ways to differentiate your small business from your competitors.


3. Voice search

Mobile search is also including more voice search. Users verbally ask artificial intelligence (like Siri) for quick and easy answers.


Voice search is changing the way algorithms optimize sites. With voice, typically only the first result survives. This means that mobile search engine optimization is more important than ever.


Who is the mobile e-commerce customer?

The mobile e-commerce customer is an on-the-go multitasker. They want fast and easy purchasing power. This is especially true for younger shoppers who grew up with technology in their hands.


1. Millennial

Millennials are a huge mobile demographic. They have high spending power, and they are more likely to purchase online than previous generations. In fact, 57% of Millennial shoppers use mobile to research products, compare prices, and make their final purchase.


But the Millennial customer can be hard to impress with mobile. They have shorter attention spans with higher expectations. On average, Millennials give one chance to engage them via mobile. If you don’t instantly attract them via mobile, they will click away and not return to your brand. Millennial mobile retention is critical but challenging.


2. Generation Z

Generation Z, the generation after Millennials, is also starting to enter into the phase of purchasing power. Generation Z grew up with technology and e-commerce, so they have high expectations for their online businesses.


Generation Z is the most likely generation to purchase through their phones as opposed to desktop computers. According to Retail Dive, Gen Z is twice as likely to convert on mobile as any other generation. Moreover, 80% of this generation is more influenced by social media than discounts or sales.


Gen Z wants easy and unique mobile experiences. Although this can challenge your business, it can also be a significant point of growth. Gen Z'ers are more likely to share their mobile experience and purchases on social media, which can drastically boost your online social proof and search engine ranking.


Understanding The Mobile E-commerce Customer woman shopping on mobile phone with shopping bags next to her


3. Omnichanneler

“Omnichannel” refers to the use of multiple channels for a cohesive purchasing experience. “Channels” include desktop websites, mobile sites, mobile apps, physical storefronts, experiential events, and phone interactions.


One of the most integrated omnichannel experiences is “buy online, pick up in store.” 50% of shoppers expect to have this option available to them, especially when purchasing through a mobile device.


Omnichannel customers are growing in popularity. McKinsey & Company found that over half of all customer interactions occur along a multi-channel journey. 38% of consumers have used their mobile device to check inventory availability on their way to a physical store.


Omnichannel customers are also often your best customers. They’re typically the most loyal customers and the highest spenders. They’re also most likely to make faster, on-the-go purchasing decisions.


90% of consumers expect a consistent experience throughout all channels—even if your business is run entirely online. This means that e-commerce companies need to be aware of how to best utilize web and mobile for different experiences while maintaining a consistent brand message.


4. Benefits shopper

Mobile enables a strong customer loyalty program. A number of businesses are using mobile platforms and apps to create a rewards or benefits system for their customers. Customers can sign up for the loyalty membership on their mobile device, and use their mobile for scanning in-store or online purchases.


If you can target this mobile customer, you can differentiate your brand and gain a new and expansive clientele.


"89% of Americans check their phone within five minutes of waking up,  according to research by Deloitte.  Americans check their phones on average 47 times per day  and spend an average of 4.7 hours looking at the internet  and social media on their mobiles."   Click to Tweet


How does mobile benefit your e-commerce business?

Why do you care about attracting and retaining this mobile e-commerce customer?


Because mobile is a proven way to grow your business. Companies with omnichannel customer engagement retain 89% of their customers compared to only 33% for businesses without omnichannel experiences.


Mobile shopping accounts for nearly 50.3% of all e-commerce traffic, and it’s growing at an exponential rate. eMarketer predicts global e-commerce sales to reach $4.058 trillion by 2020. Mobile purchases will account for nearly 15% of total retail sales (not just online sales). It’s impossible to ignore such a significantly expanding market if you want to push your brand into the future.


Bottom Line

Attracting the mobile customer starts by building an optimized mobile experience.


Learn how to effectively optimize your mobile search with our article: Mobile Search In 2018—Is Your Business Ready?


If you don’t optimize, you’ll be left behind.


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