Throughout 2012, the rise of mobile websites continued to upset the status quo for online business. Increasing traffic arriving to company websites via smartphones and tablets led to a rise in ‘showrooming’ – the act of visiting a shop to check out products in the flesh and then ordering them from Amazon.
Whether you’re one of the 32% of shoppers who admit to doing this, the fact remains that shopping on mobile websites, or M-commerce, is a rapidly expanding business sector and one that every retailer should be considering.
Last year saw sales in desktops computers fall for the first time since 2001, contrasting with a boom in tablet sales as they topped the 100m unit mark worldwide. Mobile spending has increased alongside this, and last month Forrester Research published findings indicating mobile spending looks set to increase eleven-fold by 2017.
In 2011 the mobile shopping market accounted for just 1% of online sales in Europe – equal to €1.7bn – but forecasters predict a rise to €19.2bn in the next four years.
Forrester say the reason for this is not a dramatic increase in the amount being spent, expected to increase from an average of €201 per year to €227, but due to a sharp rise in the number of mobile shoppers. Between 2011 and 2017 the number of mobile phone owners is expected to grow from 7.6m to 79m, with the UK leading the way. Speculation over the new iPhone 5S including a possible fingerprint scanner could also drive mobile shoppers as the increased biometric security encourages new customers. 4G networks could also increase M-commerce in Bristol, London and other UK cities prior to its nationwide release.
For UK E-commerce businesses, there are several options to adapt their online presence and effectiveness when it comes to an increase in mobile shoppers.
Custom apps allow the most bespoke functionality but have the key problem that they require users to download and use it, which is unlikely for casual visitors. Research has shown that most people are likely to only use apps from companies such as Amazon and eBay, as they offer a wide range of products that make downloading the app worthwhile.
Bristol e-commerce web designers are starting to move away from the traditional mobile versions of sites, as although these remain popular for many big name brands, the constant development of new mobile platforms and screen sizes makes it difficult to develop websites that make full use of the available technology.
Responsive web design allows for sites which work equally well across all platforms, including mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. It is also beneficial for business owners who want to react to the demands of the marketplace and adapt their online business to changing situations.
Responsive design allows owners to concentrate on a single site, knowing the offers will be the same for desktop and mobile browsers. If you have further questions about responsive web design or M-commerce, contact Somerset Design today.