Retailers, Mobile Is Eating You for Lunch
[Editor’s note: Google recently said it’s changing its SEO results to match how consumers use natural speech patterns to search on mobile and that mobile-friendly sites will continue to get increasingly favorable rankings. This article explores how retailers who depend on walk-in traffic can’t depend on mobile-free brick-and-mortar sales dominance. It’s eroding, and mobile may be the tuckpointing cure.]
In 2015 and for the first time in Internet history, there were more searches on mobile platforms than on desktop computers, as was announced by Google itself in early 2015, and confirmed by BIA/Kelsey’s latest studies, which predict that in 2016 mobile searches might be 32 percent greater than desktop searches.
By 2019, the number of U.S. local searches through mobile devices is expected to reach 141.9 billion vs. 62.3 billion for desktops.
This, of course, induces a major shift in online ad spending. eMarketer expects mobile ad expenses in the U.S. to rise from $8.72 billion to $12.85 billion in 2016, effectively surpassing desktop ads ($12.82 billion) for the first time ever in 2016.
This heavy trend will not stop. Acquisio thinks that digital ad spending on mobile will more than double in the next four years when desktop ad spending will keep eroding during the same period.
So here’s what marketers can do:
1. Ads Need to Be Mobile-First. So here’s the bottom line: if your online business heavily relies on search traffic, whether organic or paid-for, mobile should be your first concern not for the near-future but right now. And it will be, whether you like it or not.
Take a hint from Google’s Search Chief Amit Singhal. In a recent Search Engine Land interview, when asked about the biggest challenges for its employer and himself this year, here simply answered: “The biggest three challenges for us still will be mobile, mobile, mobile."
2. Know that Mobile Is Eating Up Brick-and-Mortar Business. Mobile as the new Web is no longer a prediction, it is a reality that marketers can observe every day, and it’s not just affecting online sales.
The latest stats from the 2015 holiday season all but confirmed this trend as outlined by the most recent comScore study, which shows a more than 59 percent year-over-year growth for mobile e-commerce, no less that 10 times the growth of desktop e-commerce, which fell short by 3 points compared to predictions, at a slumpy year-over-year plus-6 percent growth.
To the ill-informed eye, this might seem a little far-fetched, as m-commerce sales are still dwarfed by overall in-store purchases. But there is much more than simple sales-vs.-sales comparisons to how mobile is shaking up traditional shopping habits. For brick-and-mortar retailers, there is no doubt: Mobile is changing their game big-time, in more ways than one.
In fact, 90 percent of retailers believe that mobile commerce is already impacting shopping behavior, according to research firm Vanson Bourne, while Forrester Research estimates that for brick-and-mortar retailers, mobile will influence about $1 trillion in spending in the U.S. this year.
Google itself has found that 79 percent of smartphone owners are “smartphone shoppers,” using their mobiles to influence their in-store purchases, and 84 percent of those use their phones to help shop while in a store. What’s more, shoppers who use mobile more are known to actually buy more, with a 40 percent to 50 percent median basket size increase.
Reading these words will only help you get started in your reflection, but it is only the first step in making your business greater than it already is, and a bulletproof way to stay ahead of the game while your competition still scratches their heads while the mobile train is rolling away right before their eyes.
Related story: Google SEO Becoming ‘Real’ Speech