Debenhams has revealed that mobile shoppers, which now account for nearly a third of its traffic, offer retailers a twin-edge sword.
The store’s latest research suggests mobile shoppers are more lucrative, shopping more often and spending more than in-store customers, but they are also far more fickle and will change brands if an experience is not good.
Furthermore, getting the mobile experience right is even more important given that the departments store’s latest figures show mobile shoppers are less likely to offer a retailer a second chance by shopping in-store.
Debenhams Mobile Commerce Manager, Sarah Baillie, revealed at Mobile Marketing Live in London this week that 84 per cent of the department store’s mobile customers regularly shop online or on their device but only half, 54 per cent, regularly shop in-store – two years ago the proportion was three in four.
However, they will typically spend three times as much as in-store shopper and so offering a seamless multi-channel experience is essential. In fact, accepted wisdom, she suggested, is that a retailer has just a ten second window of opportunity on mobile to help a shopper find a particular product or risk losing them to another store.
“What we’re finding is you have to get mobile right because mobile shoppers spend more and they shop regularly but they’re far less forgiving than customer show shop mainly in-store,” explained Baillie.
“You have to get your offer right or customers will simply go elsewhere. So, to give our users the best experience we have separate strategies for smartphones, through which we prioritise email, location and in-store offers, and tablets, where we’re concentrating on a rich experience, such as 360 degree views.”
Baillie also believes that retailing brands should not be too concerned by conversion rates on mobile because figures suggest that around 6 per cent of all Debenhams sales are influenced by mobile. This proportion is set to rise to one in four sales by 2016, she predicts.
The higher value of mobile customers and the influence the channel can have on online and in-store sales means a mutli-channel approach is essential. Mobile will only work for retailers, Baillie warns, if they enable customers to dip in and out of different channels as they research, compare and then finally buy products.
Debenhams is due to take this multi-channel approach beyond desktop, in-store and mobile by adding an app for smart televisions in the future, she predicts, although there is no indication of when it may launch.