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Have retailers jumped the gun with mobile platforms?

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New research has shown that retailers may have their priorities wrong when it comes to mobile platforms.

The rise in mobile shoppers over the last year, mixed with the success of companies like Alibaba whose mobile purchases account for 75 per cent of its global sales, has led to retailers repurposing their budgets and strategies to focus on mobile platforms.

Research conducted by Opinionography on behalf of Optimizely suggests that retailers may have jumped the gun, as just 12 per cent of shoppers surveyed made purchases via mobile devices.

“The adoption of mobile is slower than anticipated when it comes to purchasing," Optimizely UK country manager Marie Despringhere said.

"Mobile is great for browsing, but often people use mobile devices in locations that may not be convenient for completing transactions, such as on a train or waiting at an airport."

It also finds that online shoppers also still prefer conventional online shopping methods by a significant margin. 71 per cent of purchases were made with a laptop or desktop, and 64 per cent used them for researching before a purchase.

This can be attributed to ease of use and security concerns, as consumers remain wary of making online purchases that are possibly insecure.

“Another thing to consider is the concern of security and safety that many users still battle with," Despringhere said.

"Retailers that ensure their websites are secure across all platforms will be able to gain trust from their customers and therefore start to see the volume of mobile sales rise.

“By implementing a step-by-step purchasing process, displaying confirmations and making payment options such as Apple Pay available, mobile users will be more likely to complete the purchase on their mobile devices.”

With the advancement of mobile purchasing proving underwhelming for consumers, it has become increasingly important for retailers to strike a balance in their strategy, delivering a consistent service across every platform.

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Twenty per cent of those surveyed state that they use online purely as a research platform. Nearly three quarters said they researched or browsed online and then buy in-store. 67 per cent of these consumers said they buy in-store because they prefered to see, touch or try the product and ensure its quality.

“There have been numerous occasions where retailers have been hit by low sales or even had to close down stores due to not keeping up with the competition,” Despringhere said.

“The shift in market dynamics and the disruption of many pure-play retailers venturing to open physical stores, such as Amazon and Missguided, will certainly continue to impact retailers.

“What it comes down to that retailers no longer have an excuse not to be online; but even more than this, there is no excuse for retailers not to deliver an exceptional customer experience.”

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Published on Friday 09 September by Ben Stevens

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