Apps are a must: Three out of five start shopping via mobile

Do you spend money on improving your shopping app, using paid search, or simplifying your website? A new study shows you where to invest.
Written by Eileen Brown, Contributor

If you have the budget, what do you put your marketing dollars into -- your website or your mobile site? A new report shows you the devices people are most likely to buy items from and how they find your site.

Content management company Episerver recently released its B2C dot com report.  It collected 1.3 billion unique online shopping sessions across 159 retail and consumer brand websites around the world.

It wanted to discover insights about which devices and sources are best for organizations selling to consumers online.

The report highlights interesting behaviors in the way we shop online.

Mobile has finally hit its tipping point. Fifty percent of all sessions connect from a smartphone device.

Over two-out-of-five sessions (41%) come from a desktop, and only 9% come from a tablet.

The report shows that mobile wins the race for the most connected sessions.

However, desktop outperforms all hand-held devices in terms of units sold per order, with 3.6 items for desktop compared to 3.3 for tablets, and 2.9 units for mobile.

The report also shows that direct traffic and email traffic have the highest units per order by traffic source.

Although desktop users seem to be more profitable, it could be due to the user experience offered to each device type. Mobile users may be more inclined to add items but exit out of clunky user experiences.

Desktop buyers do not need as much patience to add more items and take advantage of recommended products to supplement their order.

Three out of five (60%) consumers shop online at least once a month, with the majority of those sessions stemming from a mobile device. Some companies saw over 80% of session traffic coming through mobile.

Almost half of the traffic to a brand site (48%) comes from direct traffic. This could be someone who types in the website directly into their browser or clicks various links, such as a bookmark, personal email -- not a mail shot -- or other non-web links.

Apps are a must as three out of five start shopping via mobile zdnet

Organic search follows, with almost one in four (24%) of traffic visits. Social referrals lags with 4%, and referrals themselves trail with 3% of visits. This broadly follows for units ordered.

Direct and email had the highest units per order by traffic source in both 2017 and 2018 with 3.4 units per order each. This could be because personalized recommendations are more abundant on retail websites and in the emails they send compared to other channels.

Paid search and organic search are the highest performing traffic sources when taking conversion rate, units per order, and bounce rate into consideration. Both score high on the index, with a calculated score of 55 for paid search and 48 for organic search. Social scores 44 on the index.

Direct traffic is the lowest on the index, scoring 6. This is because it gets the most traffic and has the highest bounce rate -- even though it has the highest units per order and a decent conversion rate.

This indicates that direct traffic seems to indicate 'look-and-leave' traffic, whereas search and referral traffic usually indicate intent to buy.

Ed Kennedy, senior director of commerce strategy at Episerver, said: "Through access to 1.3 billion sessions, we're able to provide digital commerce leaders and practitioners an opportunity to benchmark themselves against a statistically significant sample of retail and consumer brand websites and get definitive answers to their top B2C commerce questions."

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