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October 17, 2016

The State of Mobile Commerce Search: Preparing for 2017

By Special Guest
Pavan Vilas Sondur, CEO and Co-Founder of Unbxd

Mobile commerce has been touted as the next big thing for the past several years. Retailers have prepared for the growth in GMV and profitability from mobile by building mobile-responsive sites and engaging apps. However, we are now past the mobile tipping point. The majority of shoppers are now on mobile, overtaking desktop visitors to account for 61 percent of total e-commerce traffic. Despite this trend, however, mobile conversions are 63 percent lower than desktop conversions.

By studying and analyzing the site search behavior of mobile shoppers across 500 million sessions and transactions worth $1.1 billion, we sought to understand what factors are specifically holding mobile back. We found that mobile shoppers were indeed adding items to their shopping carts, but ultimately not placing orders. The share of cart additions on mobile has grown 2.6 fold in the last two years — nearly on par with desktop at 43 percent — but order volumes remain lower as compared to desktop. Mobile users are choosing to add products to cart, but ultimately not completing transactions.

This may in part be due to the fact that the nature of mobile shopping is biased towards short, ‘snackable’ sessions. Attention spans on mobile are short, with constant notifications and alerts drawing shoppers away to messaging, calls, and other apps. Our research indicates that mobile shoppers browse in multiple sessions for this reason, with repeat sessions clocking in at 43 percent shorter in duration compared with desktop sessions.

So how can you, the e-commerce retailer, work to increase mobile sales, and capture more revenue from potential mobile shoppers? Our studies demonstrate that enhancing the mobile site search experience is a key strategic approach to combating the hurdles facing mobile sales. Seventy percent of mobile shoppers prefer to use site search over category browsing or organic search, for its ease of use and shorter path to purchase. However, this preference means the search experience is particularly susceptible to drop-offs; mobile shoppers are 74 percent more likely than desktop shoppers to bounce because of a poor search experience.

A more personalized search experience is the key to successfully engaging and re-engaging users, and increasing the potential lifetime value of those shoppers. The likelihood of purchase is directly proportional to the number of visits, so if a shopper is returning to you for the tenth time, they are 5x more likely to purchase. When it comes to session duration, mobile shoppers who cross the 10 minute mark are your most valuable. The largest cohort of mobile shoppers spends between one to five minutes shopping, but getting shoppers to spend over 10 minutes on your site can yield over 10x higher conversion rates, and 21 percent higher average order value.

By gaining insights into user product discovery behavior and how it varies across verticals, you can seek to tailor and personalize the mobile search experience for individual segments of users. Personalized search results require a number of considerations, the simplest of which are device screen size and location. Not all mobile devices confer the same experience, and therefore, the same potential to drive sales — we’ve seen that search on phablets convert 6x higher as compared with smaller-sized phones. In this case, it’s absolutely worth considering how you might distinguish the search experience on large versus small phones to maximize opportunities.

Likewise, shopper location can alter product discovery behavior, and can be used to better structure and present search results. Shoppers who view products via site search on mobile have a local purchase intent, with 76 percent visiting a nearby store on the same day. Twenty-eight percent of these visits result in a purchase, and six out of every 10 shoppers check product availability in their nearby stores on mobile.

Now that mobile traffic has crossed the tipping point, e-commerce retailers must take advantage of on-the-go shoppers and leverage intelligent, machine learning site search to drive them into the purchase cycle and raise mobile conversation rates. A smarter approach to search will enhance the experience for your shoppers and pave the way to cultivating loyal customers!

For more information please go to: http://pages.unbxd.com/state-of-mobile-commerce-search #

About the Author

The Co-Founder and CEO of Unbxd, Pavan Sondur is the architect of its global growth story. Pavan was previously a developer at NetApp and Gluster, where he built GlusterFS, its multi-petabyte open source file storage system.

Pavan is passionate about technology, the Internet and consumer behavior. Pavan's views on the e-Commerce industry are frequently covered in the international media.

Edited by Alicia Young

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