Unless your business website is the main source of your income, it’s easy to let it slide down your list of priorities. But new research is proving what, deep down, you probably already know: more people than ever are shopping and accessing information via their smartphones. That means that if your website isn’t smartphone-friendly, you could be losing a large number of customers and/or sales.
Mobile commerce: the stats
According to research by eMarketer, in 2017, m-commerce—transactions occurring on a mobile device—totalled $1.357 trillion, making up 58.9% of digital sales (a large jump in share from 40.2% in 2015). Perhaps even more significantly, m-commerce accounted for 6.0% of all retail sales worldwide last year—and eMarketer expects that by 2021, that share will double to 12.7%, due in part to rapid m-commerce growth in Asia-Pacific.
Here in the UK, PayPal’s latest annual mobile commerce report found that shoppers have become more confident about spending on their mobile, with shoppers willing to spend more than £100 in an average mobile transaction – up from £80 in 2017.
- UK mobile commerce was worth £27 billion in 2017 and over Christmas 2017, mobile payments made up more than half of all e-commerce payments.
- By 2020, it’s predicted that two-thirds of all UK e-commerce purchases will be made on mobiles (worth £4 billion).
- 42% of people are buying on mobile at least once a week, rising to 65% for consumers age 25–34
- 4 out of 10 shoppers browse daily for goods or services using their smartphones, rising to 57% for 16 to 44-year-olds
- 22% of consumers said they prefer shopping on their mobile rather than the high street (more than twice as many as in 2016) and 30% of consumers said they expected to shop on mobile more often in the next year.
So are small business ahead of, or at least up with this trend? Unfortunately, the answer in most cases, and particularly in London, is no—even when they think they are!
Small businesses aren’t rising to the m-commerce challenge
Paypal’s report shows that there is a vast gap between what consumers want and expect and what small businesses provide. While 9 out of 10 small businesses with mobile websites believe they offer customers a good experience, only 4 out of 10 consumers agree.
“Small businesses are missing out. People’s shopping habits are changing, but many small businesses are not,” says PayPal.
- 41% of small businesses do not have a business website, often because they believe they are doing well enough without it
- Of those that do have a website, only 67% of small businesses have a site that is optimised for mobile, i.e. automatically adapts for touchscreen use
- London businesses are the biggest culprits, with just 13% offering mobile-friendly websites ( a drop of four percentage points since 2017), despite London also being the top global city for mobile transactions
“With mobile web browsing overtaking desktop for the first time in 2016, it is more important than ever that businesses adapt,” said Nicola Longfield, director of small business at PayPal UK.
“Shoppers are increasingly frustrated by websites which require them to pinch the screen to zoom in and scroll endlessly to find miniature checkout buttons.”
Not only could your small business be losing trade, but its lack of mobile adaptability may affect its rankings on Google—a factor that no small business can afford to ignore. Google has been encouraging developers to optimise sites for mobile page speed ever since they noticed that more than 50% of search queries were happening on mobile devices, and in July this year, they introduced mobile-first ranking.
This means that when indexing and ranking, Google will predominantly use the mobile version of a page’s content rather than the desktop version to evaluate the relevance of a page to a user’s query.
“Since the majority of users now access Google via a mobile device, the index will primarily use the mobile version of a page’s content going forward,” Google explains.
Google will continue to show the URL that is the most appropriate to users (whether it’s a desktop or mobile URL) in search results and evaluate each site individually on its readiness for mobile-first indexing based on the best practices and transition the site when the site is ready.
Make your website mobile-friendly
“If websites remain difficult to use, small businesses will simply miss out on sales,” warns Nicola Longfield.
“There are relatively easy fixes that business owners can make to get more mobile sales.”
So what are these easy fixes? PayPal has some suggestions.
Problem: Your website is slow to load. 47% of consumers admit to having abandoned mobile purchases because the experience was too slow or difficult.
Fix: Make sure your site is mobile-optimised and loads quickly.
Problem: Transactions are too slow on your site—an issue when you consider that 32% of shoppers say they choose mobile shopping because of its speed. Ensure your checkout process is speedy by integrating speedy payment systems like PayPal One Touch™.
Problem: Customers are nervous about the security of mobile transactions. 56% of mobile shoppers say they are more likely to purchase from websites that offer a recognised payment method and 77% said they would “only purchase from a website using an online payments option/brand I recognise e.g. PayPal, WorldPay.”
Fix: Offer payment options through well-known platforms with a good reputation for security.
Finally, if you think none of this matters for your small business and that it’s doing fine, bear in mind the world is changing around you and your business—and heed the warning from PayPal’s report:
“Even if your business is doing well today, your customers are increasingly shopping (both browsing and buying) online. Your existing customers may not be buying online from you today, but will they find a more convenient competitor tomorrow? And, how many potential customers will never know about you because you are invisible to them?”
If you’re concerned that your website is not mobile-friendly, PayPal offers some good advice for becoming mobile-ready. Are you mobile ready? Let us know your thoughts below.