“Wow, that was really easy making an online purchase entering my credit card information using my smartphone’s tiny keyboard,” said no one ever.
The process of buying physical goods on your smartphone let’s face it, just isn’t convenient. While many retailers have mobile friendly sites, you are limited on product photo size and the ever frustrating task of entering in billing information with your thumbs. While consumers are using their smartphones more and more to compare prices and research products, they still don’t tend to make purchases on their devices, according to data from market researcher ChannelAdvisor. Most people use desktops instead, where a larger screen and physical keyboard make buying effortless.
US retailers are seeing a big increase in their online traffic coming from smartphones, but they aren’t able to convert those visitors into buyers — and potentially frustrating potential customers along the way. Considering consumers spend three hours every day on a mobile device for activities not involving phone calls this translates into a big missed sales opportunity.
Most recently, from Black Friday to Cyber Monday this year nearly half of online retail traffic came from smartphones, about double from the year before, according to ChannelAdvisor. But smartphones accounted for just a quarter of purchases. Desktops brought in 60 percent of sales while accounting for less traffic than phones. Just 20 percent of those using smartphones tend to complete a purchase after placing an item in their shopping cart.
While traditional retailers work to simplify mobile sites and develop apps for easy shopping, mobile online giants like Amazon and eBay seem to be benefitting as they hold the majority of the market share. Both online sellers have popular apps that store customers’ information making the shopping experience much easier.
There have been some developments to make mobile shopping more user-friendly.
PayPal launched One Touch for mobile devices last year, the industry’s first single touch payment experience on iOS and Android. One Touch allows consumers to buy items or services through mobile devices without having to enter user names or passwords, shipping information, or payment details. Once PayPal users sign into PayPal One Touch on their phone or tablet, the information is linked to that device allowing for a more streamlined shopping experience.
The company claims impressive results; One Touch is used by companies like Lyft, Airbnb, and StubHub. According to PayPal senior vice president and global head of merchant and NextGen commerce, Bill Ready, some of its merchants have seen a 50 percent or more improvement in consumer conversions.
Social media sites, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and most recently Twitter have launched “Buy Now” buttons.
“The goal for all our commerce initiatives on Twitter is simple: make it as easy as possible for businesses to connect directly with, and sell to, customers on Twitter,” said Nathan Hubbard, Twitter’s head of commerce, in a blog post. “With Buy Now, businesses can drive more conversions and remove much of the friction in the mobile purchasing process.”
Digital dollar use continues to expand. Apple Pay recently adding 66 additional banks and credit unions supporting its payment service in the US. That brings the total number of card issues supporting Apple Pay to over 850.
2016 could be a critical year in helping to make the smartphone more than just a place where people go window-shopping in between games of candy crush.