Whether it’s in the checkout line at the grocery store or at home on the couch, consumers use smartphones to research specific topics, products or aimlessly surf the web. Mobile devices have become necessary centers of information for consumers, and now more than ever, brands need to embrace and respond to this trend.
It’s a trend that can’t be ignored. Mobile commerce has become a vital sector within e-commerce. Mobile commerce now accounts for nearly 30 percent of all e-commerce sales in the U.S. and will grow nearly three times faster than e-commerce, according to Internet Retailer.
By the end of 2015, it is projected that digital interactions will influence 64 cents of every dollar spent in retail stores, a fraction too significant for brands to overlook their mobile strategies. In fact, 82 percent of consumers said they have turned to their smartphones while in a store for help on purchases they are about to make, according to Google.
Marketers need to recognize the potential they have to influence consumers in moments like this. By creating and maintaining a strong mobile presence, brands can ensure they are part of the influence that shapes how more than half of every retail dollar is spent. Implementing strategic SEO tactics can amplify a brand’s visibility and secure a healthy placement in SERPs, so consumers find them.
Google researched how consumers use their mobile devices while shopping and found that the presence of smartphones is an opportunity for brands to reach their consumers in yet another way. While in brick-and-mortar stores, 84 percent of shoppers will use their smartphones while shopping. Standing in front of a product is no longer good enough for shoppers. Almost half of smartphone users search for information online while standing in a store, because they treat their mobile device like a new store attendant.
Not only do people say that using their mobile device for information saves time but say they their in-store experience has been improved by having the information readily available in a handheld device. This is especially true in the makeup industry.
Sephora created an app meant to be used while consumers are in-store. With a scanning device, customers can look at their personal purchasing history, access reviews, ratings and more information about certain products.
Sephora’s app harnesses the trend of in-store mobile device use. It directs people to experience the brand simultaneously in two separate places: in person and online. And it’s to their advantage. Google also found that consumers who used a mobile device while shopping spent 50 percent more than consumers who did not.
Most consumers don’t just search mobile devices for fun - they are actively looking to convert. More than three-fourths of consumers who search for a product on their mobile device will visit a local retailer the same day, according to Google. Of those, more than a quarter will continue on to make a purchase.
For chains or local businesses, it is even more crucial to remain relevant in search queries. Purchase immediacy is important to consumers: more than half of smartphone users intend to purchase within an hour of researching, 83 percent of them within the day.
When researching products or services, 74 percent of smartphone users are using search engines, instead of going straight to a brand’s website or app. That statistic alone should be enough to persuade marketers to focus on SEO and their ranking within a SERP.
If consumers were going straight to the site, marketers would not need to think twice about SEO, but because the search engine is the access point to their brand, optimizing for a search engine is crucial.
Therefore, being on the first page of a SERP is crucial in order to be the brand that consumers find. In fact, 51 percent of consumers have purchased from a different company than they expected to, based on information provided in their search.
Maintaining accurate inventory listings is equally important, as 93 percent of consumers who research on their mobile device go on to make a purchase, most of which occur in a store. Consumers are not only looking for products but searching for where they can go to get the product in their hands that day. With a concentrated SEO effort, brands can ensure that they are the businesses earning the consumers’ conversions when consumers are ready to make a purchase.
While consumers might want to purchase products using their mobile devices, smartphones have proven to be worth so much more than just a way to order products online. From offering additional information to consumers while they’re in-store to facilitating purchases by directing consumers, mobile phones can offer brands leverage available nowhere else.