Mobiles big it up online

Keep taking the tabletsTablets and smartphones are quickly becoming the platform of choice when it comes to online shopping. According to IMRG Capgemini, mobile accounted for 23.2 percent of online sales last quarter, up 11.6 percent year-on-year. What’s more, the actual proportion of retail site visits coming from mobile was up to 34 percent from 21 percent a year ago.

Click and collect is going strong as well, as it represented 16 percent of online sales, up from 12 percent last year. Bounce rates are also going up, largely as a result of higher mobile penetration.

IMRG chief information officer Tina Spooner said there is a correlation between the surge in mobile commerce and the rise in visitor bounce rates on mobile retail sites.

“While consumers [people, Ed.] have generally become more confident in using their mobile devices as a shopping tool, the latest data suggests they have also become more demanding,” Spooner said. “Higher search volumes will inevitably result in an increase in bounce rates as shoppers will often compare products and pricing across several brands.”

Spooner argued that offering an engaging and relevant experience for customers across all channels will help retailers achieve the end goal of higher conversion rates and an increase in customer loyalty.

Capgemini UK VP of consumer products and retail Chris Webster pointed out another interesting trend – record levels of sales via mobile devices correspond to higher rates for click and collect.

“This correlation of mobile ordering and location flexible collection is at the heart of the mobile internet and the impact it will have on consumer behaviour. Maybe we are truly entering the Martini age – anytime, anyplace, anywhere,” he said. Talk about product placement, Webster.

UK retailers to net £10 billion on cross-border sales

berlin-borderOnline sales are booming and taking their toll on brick and mortar shops, but another interesting trend is starting to emerge. Cross-border sales in Europe are expected to hit £36 billion this year. As much as 10.6 per cent of all online purchases will be cross-border affairs.

It might be a worrying trend for some, but not for British retailers, as they are the most successful in doing business across borders.

According to IMRG data, international consumers dropped as much as £7.4 billion on British online retail sites and the figure is expected to hit £10 billion in 2013. The UK online retail market is second only to the US in terms of overall value. IMRG concluded that cross-border markets are becoming increasingly attractive for UK retailers, as they offer multiple opportunities for sustained growth.

Andrew McClelland, Chief Operations & Policy Officer at IMRG, commented: “Cross-border is the future of e-commerce, and the opportunity is particularly strong for UK retailers due to the advanced state and sophistication of the market here.”

However McClelland warns that expanding internationally is a complex business and retailers need to carefully identify markets that are appropriate to them rather than just attractive in terms of value and growth. Basically, they have to do their homework.

“Research is everything when it comes to cross-border; there have been several instances of retail brands finding success by selling product ranges that they are not well-known for by consumers in the UK,” he said.

In order to facilitate cross-border growth across Europe, Trusted Shops and IMRG came up with ‘Internet Shopping is Safe (ISIS)’ schemes in 2012. Their goal is to create a standard European trustmark that supports UK retailers in their international expansion strategies.