M-Commerce: The complete picture

By Matt Swan

Back in early 2011 we embarked on a project to fully understand the mobile opportunity within the performance channel. At the time, just over one percent of our sales were trickling through mobile handsets but it was a channel offering such huge opportunity and potential that we had faith in its ability to eventually deliver.

Since then it’s fair to say we’ve been on a mobile journey, watching as the landscape shifted, changed and developed with m-commerce establishing itself as a topic close to our hearts. We released our first ever network mobile commerce findings in a white paper back in November 2011 and followed this up with the second edition in June 2012. This third edition, a year after our last, writes the latest chapter in the mobile performance story, a channel which is changing the digital eco-system in such dramatic ways on an almost daily basis.

Our latest mobile figures indicate that 22% of traffic and 18% of sales are now delivered through mobile handset and tablet devices. When we launched our first white paper we were recording just 3.5% of all traffic and 5% of sales coming through the same platforms.

Our data references millions of sales and clicks recorded every month from more than 1,400 retailers’ and advertisers’ affiliate marketing campaigns, drawn from sectors including retail, travel, telecoms, utilities and finance.

The staggering increase we’ve witnessed has been down to a sharp rise in smartphone and tablet penetration, coupled with growing consumer confidence in shopping through mobile devices. With more advanced devices and better connectivity, shopping habits are shifting. Consumers are not just using these devices for researching their purchases, they are actually transacting. It seems with every new technological development so the initial consumer barrier to embrace them is lowered, allowing for faster adoption: mobile seems to epitomise this.

It is important to note there are differences in how consumers are interacting with mobile devices. Tablets are fast becoming an alternative to desktops with people browsing the internet while at home. Mobile handsets on the other hand are always with consumers, whether this is sitting in front of the television or out and about in a sociable or shopping environment. They could be used to simply find directions to the nearest store or to compare prices before making a purchase.

Additionally the barriers to online access are eroding as retailers increasingly offer free in-store Wi-Fi; also underlining the ability of mobile to both interrupt and enhance consumer behaviour.

The emergence of smaller screen tablets such as the iPad mini has blurred the boundaries somewhat with these devices commonly used at home just like the iPad, while easier to transport like a phone.

For advertisers working within the performance channel it is imperative to understand the motivation behind the consumer visiting their site through a mobile device and be in a position to take advantage of this traffic. Whether the consumer is looking to find the nearest store, or trying to purchase on their phone, the user journey, first and foremost, needs to be optimised.

Beyond the basics of optimisation and tracking, there is a wealth of opportunities for advertisers not only to increase sales online through m-commerce, but also to drive consumers in store within a multichannel environment.

In this last whitepaper we look at mobile commerce as a whole, but also separate out mobile handsets from tablet devices to give a true understanding of the performance of each. We want to showcase some core findings and success stories. We also want to explore the mobile eco-system, company focus for 2013 into 2014 and new publisher opportunities.

To download the whitepaper, follow the link below:


About the author

Matt Swan is Client Strategist at Affiliate Window.



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