A study of US ecommerce trends in the run up to Mother's Day points to what Jay Henderson, Global Strategy Director for IBM Smarter Commerce, called "a pretty seismic shift" in online shopping habits.
How did you prepare for Mother's Day? It's increasingly likely that you went online to buy that long-considered, well-chosen present -- or those last minute flowers and chocolates. What's more, on average, you did it by spending about six minutes cruising mobile channels, and dropping a couple of hundred bucks.
We know this thanks to IBM's Digital Analytics Benchmark study. (IBM is the exclusive sponsor of Internet Evolution.) Driving analytics against aggregated, anonymized data from its large user database, the study reported that digital commerce in the week preceding Mother's Day, 2013, grew 15 percent compared with the same period in 2012. Mobile purchases accounted for 17 percent. Overall, mobile traffic represented 25 percent of online commerce for the period, a staggering increase of 43 percent on 2012.
These increases follow an exponential curve, based on trends seen over the Christmas period as well as last year in general, Henderson told me this afternoon:
We're definitely seeing the growth of online shopping continuing to accelerate, and in particular, we're seeing mobile really sky rocket.
He also shared some additional data with me. The mobile devices of choice for Mother's Day shopping were the iPhone (generating 9.98 percent of all online traffic), and the iPad (9.08 percent), with Android coming in "a distant third" (6.5 percent).
Significantly, the iPad had a slightly higher conversion rate than any smartphone -- indicative perhaps of the richer shopping experience offered by premium tablets (although all possibly related to iPad owners' readiness to buy).
The conclusion CMOs should draw, Henderson said, is that a "mobile first strategy" makes increasing sense. CMOs should be thinking about:
...designing the customer experience across all these channels. They need to be thoughtful about orchestrating the customer experience in each device, as well as across the devices.
This represents a challenge, with smartphone-based commerce constrained by screen size and the need for speed and limited clicking, while tablets demand a richer experiences, designed for "the swipe of the finger."
IBM's Digital Analytics Benchmark is a cloud-based solution that can help businesses track a range of ecommerce metrics, including visitor behavior and transaction volume, providing visibility into the customer's online (and mobile) experience. It can also analyze marketing trends and compare website or app performance across industry sectors.
Businesses, said Henderson, should not only be "more proactive about knowing the customer, and about being able to deliver value at every touch," but should also be able to "measure performance --closing the loop to making better decisions."
Based on the $20 billion Mother's Day shopfest, there's going to be plenty of performance to measure.
— Kim Davis , Senior Editor, Internet Evolution