It wasn’t that long ago that you either shopped online or you shopped in a store, but mobile devices are obliterating those boundaries. Shoppers visit the store and check out the same product online, they park items in a shopping basket from their desktop and check the purchases on their phone while they commute to work. But they aren’t just browsing. Consumers are increasingly buying via mobile devices – 24% of UK online order share comes from a phone.

This means a couple of things. Obviously, retailers need to get mobile right. They also need to understand how mobile changes the shopping experience. And multi-channel retailers need to pay particular attention to other ways of engaging mobile.

As you get ready for 2016, ask yourself these questions:

Is my site mobile-enabled?

This is not just about search engines that favour mobile-friendly sites in rankings. The prime reason is to make shopping on a mobile device easy. This starts with having emails that can be easily read on a mobile device and extends to ease of payment via a smartphone. And this isn’t about investing in an app, unless you sell something that people order repeats of daily or weekly, such as coffee or pizza.

Do I understand basket recovery?

Many shoppers use baskets as tools to transition between devices or to view saved items whilst in a store. Baskets per shopper increased 13% in Q1 2015 year-over-year, and the overall number of baskets created was up 22% globally. You need a plan for emailing customers that park items in a basket. Basket recovery techniques don’t necessarily require some sort of discount offer – the email can be a personalised reminder or one that suggests similar items.

Can I sell to Millennials without responsive mobile design?

If your product mix is designed to attract Millennials and you aren’t making headway in gaining budget for mobile enhancements, try Googling Millennials and smartphones. Last year, 90% said their phones never leave their side. A Zogby Analytics survey showed that only 41% of Millennials continued to pursue a purchase when they couldn’t do it via their mobile device.

Is it time to use a social “buy button”?

YouGov and Bronto Software commissioned a survey on this topic in 2015 and found one-third of UK consumers (32%) polled said they’re ready to buy via social media. While younger age groups are eager to buy, households with children and those aged 35-44 years old also show keen interest in shopping via social media. Men are more enthusiastic than women. The items that launched the ecommerce buying trend – books, DVDs and CDs – are the items that respondents said they are most likely to buy via social media.

Multi-channel retailers have some additional items on their mobile to-do list, starting with whether to invest in beacon technology, devices used in a store to communicate with nearby smartphones via Bluetooth. While retailers have mulled how to use it, from pinging customers with an offer as they get near a store to studying shopper behaviour in stores, compelling use cases are rare. At this stage, beacons are more hype than reality. Will it always be this way? No. But they aren’t a must-have for 2016.

What multi-channel retailers should focus more energy on is using mobile to enhance the in-store shopping experience while connecting it to the online one. Do your sales associates have tablets that can quickly and effortlessly find an item in a different color or size for customers and figure out the fastest way to get it to them? And is the data from such an encounter used to personalise email messages? That is worth investing in.


By Saima Alibhai, Client Services Manager at Bronto Software. 

GDPR Summit Series is a global series of GDPR events which will help marketers to prepare to meet the requirements of the GDPR ahead of May 2018 and beyond. Further information and conference details are available at

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