Over the past number of years, mobile commerce has surpassed eCommerce when it comes to revenue and traffic from holiday shopping. A recent report from IMRG states that online retailer, very.co.uk saw 80% of their traffic originating from mobile and tablet devices throughout Black Friday.

Furthermore, it isn’t just seasonal peaks that apply to mobile; a separate report by IMRG found that 51% of UK online retail sales were made through mobile devices (smartphones and tablets) in Q4 2015. This represents an increase of 11% from the same quarter of the previous year.

Savvy online retailers have accepted mobile as the next big channel and have been working to better understand and manage the growth and impact of their mobile channels.

We have created this four-part blog series to show you real, simple and results-driven ways that you can increase your conversion during the holiday season. In the first post of the series, we’re going to focus on one of the most important revenue streams; mobile.

Why have Black Friday and Cyber Monday grown so significantly? Black Friday in the UK and Ireland is a relatively new concept that began with the e-retailer Amazon.co.uk offering discounts in 2010 and has exploded since then.

Quickly, other retailers began to sit up and take notice; Currys and PC World offered huge online discounts during Black Friday weekend in 2012. Since then, Black Friday has grown stealthily in its popularity with big-name retailers like Asda, John Lewis, Asos and Tesco having since come on board.

The growth of mobile commerce and the holiday season


The holiday season as we all know is the most magical (and stressful) time of the year for retailers of any size. In the last number of years, consumers have increasingly looked online to complete their holiday shopping, helped along by the growing uptake of Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales.

If we look at Ireland and the UK in particular, these once exclusively North American sales days, are now buying our online holiday sales. In the UK in 2015, during the four-day Black Friday weekend, UK consumers spent £1.1 billion in online sales on Black Friday and £968 million online on Cyber Monday.

These figures represent a significant 34% rise year-on-year meaning that, in 2016, we can expect even higher mobile figures and an increase in the percentage of mobile sales. This is largely due to better online promotions and even stiffer competition.

For any retailer, the stakes are high and, especially when it comes to mobile, it’s imperative to get it absolutely right. Mobile commerce is growing at a rapid pace for a number of different reasons:

1. Device growth

The sheer number of mobile devices being adopted has accelerated in recent years with 4.7 billion worldwide users estimated by 2017. In a relatively short amount of time, mobile has become consumers’ preferred device to visit commercial sites.

2. Larger screens

It’s that simple; the preference for larger mobile screens means that it’s easier to browse, buy and pay for goods.

3. Speed

Remember when finding good mobile coverage was a near impossible task? Well, it’s never been faster to get online and get shopping.

4. Reduced checkout friction

Mobile commerce can be hampered by friction during the checkout process, especially when it comes to payment. However, huge strides have been made of late to reduce friction when it comes to the problematic payment page.

5. Device growth

With the impending arrival of progressive web apps, mobile sites are increasingly behaving like apps delivered in a mobile web browser. This helps to reduce friction in our mobile user journey.

What do customers expect and value in mobile shopping experiences?

When users arrive on your mobile design site, they have certain expectations. They want the mobile site to be as feature rich as the desktop site and don’t want to encounter an experience that forces them to resort to using the desktop site.

It’s especially critical that during the holiday period when competition is rife and users are trying to bag themselves the biggest bargains that you have ticked all items on the following checklist:

  1. Users don’t have to zoom to decipher text or images
  2. Users can filter by product/category
  3. Users don’t have to scroll through a long list of products
  4. The mobile keyboard matches the input type. Numeric keypads for numeric input fields, email keyboards for email input fields
  5. Your site has a powerful and accurate search function
  6. Each product has clear, accurate images and descriptions
  7. There’s an easy path to checkout with simple, clear signposts along the way
  8. Items can easily be added (and removed) from the checkout
  9. Pricing and shipping information is made incredibly clear and is plain to see
  10. The site looks secure and trustworthy

Why do mobile shoppers abandon their shopping carts and how can you fix it?


The most important thing to remember when it comes to mobile shoppers is that they’re impatient and easily distracted. Time is fleeting when it comes to mobile shopping.

It’s often a way to simply fill moments of passive waiting; moments like commuting, queuing for coffee or passing the time until our favourite TV show starts.

The average person spends around 90 minutes a day using their mobile device, ample time to successfully shop so why then is there such a high abandonment rate on mobile?

Some of the most common reasons for high checkout abandonment:

Distracting design

The problem: We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again; mobile shoppers are impatient and are focused on completing the task at hand. According to KissMetrics, 47% of shoppers expect a mobile web page to load within two seconds They just want to get in and get out, and unnecessary information only serves as a distraction.

The fix: Enclose the payment and checkout process by removing the standard navigation or footer on the checkout page and only keep the essential elements your shoppers need to complete the transaction. In place of the header, a company logo should be linked to the homepage as the only escape route. People still require information so do provide links to information about delivery, returns policies, contact details and security policies.

Unreasonably long forms

The problem: Nobody likes filling out long forms on a mobile and equally nobody likes having to switch between text and number layouts.

The fix: Make it easy for your shoppers, reduce the form lengths and have their keyboards open on the relevant input.

A checkout flow that’s difficult to gauge

The problem: When buying on a mobile, every single user wonders how long this will take. A shopping cart that’s unpredictable in length is one that’s likely to be abandoned.

The fix: Instead, signpost the journey. Let them know clearly that there are only two steps that they need to complete. Showing them a progress bar is also another way to ease anxiety.

Forcing people to sign up

The problem: Is there anything worse than trying to make a purchase and being railroaded into creating an account, entering your email address and then being sent to your email account to verify your email address.

The fix: Your customer has come to your site to buy and signing up, particularly at the payment page is a significant distraction. Instead provide them with an alternative route; offering a guest checkout is one of the best options.

A site that looks untrustworthy

The problem: There is still a perception that mobile is less secure than desktop. Many of your visitors will wonder, should I wait until I’m at my desktop to make this purchase?

The fix: To assuage the anxiety of your “on-the-fence” shoppers then you have to make them trust you. Use trust seals and assure them of your site’s security at every stage; particularly on the payment page

Having to repeat themselves

The problem: When thinking of your mobile users, always remember that they will always want to avoid entering their card details.

The fix: They prefer when their details are stored and will be far more likely to make a purchase if they have a one click checkout or can choose to use a previously stored card.

3D Secure

The problem: 3D Secure is a fantastic asset to retailers and consumers alike. It significantly helps to stamp out mobile fraud and goes a long way to ensuring both parties are protected when using a Visa card. However, when it comes to mobile, making a payment needs to be as frictionless as possible and there are lots of alternatives to 3D Secure for mobile.

The fix: Instead, look at also offering alternatives including Mobile Wallets, PayPal and using Dynamic 3D Secure which allows you to exclude mobile devices.

Not checking to see what your customers want

The problem: How do you know what your customers want unless you ask them? Every site is unique so make sure to maximise conversion by testing your user’s preferences.

The fix: A/B testing is the most effective way to see what’s working on your retail site and what isn’t.

How can Realex Payments help to ensure the success of your holiday mobile strategy?

In the run-up to the festive (and profitable) holiday season, it can be easy to focus solely on obvious sales and revenue drivers such as promotion and advertising. However, as we’ve seen above, user experience is ultimately what it all comes down to.

The holiday season means that your site needs to be at the top of its game if you want to hold your own against the competition. Which is why we have created an online payment solution optimised for mobile devices.

This means it’s been specifically built with mobile conversion in mind. So, when a user clicks on the “buy now” button on a mobile commerce site and lands on the Realex Payments Checkout Page, they will experience the following:

  • A fully customisable Hosted Payment Page that reflects the brand of the website
  • Real-time form validation: Mistype something; it’s called out in a real-time error so the customer can fix it quickly, without delaying the checkout flow
  • Keyboards that open on the relevant input: numerical not alphabetical
  • They will only get asked to input information that’s relevant and required; nothing extra (no long and winding forms)
  • The pay now button is located above the fold of the mobile screen: It’s distraction free and easy to find
  • The site is clearly marked as trusted and secure
  • Card storage so your returning customers can quickly select their stored card and pay faster than the speed of light
  • Pay by tapping or taking a picture of your card when accessing through Safari so it’s even easier to pay than ever before.

Yo can learn more about how our hosted payment solution can help you maximise online sales this holiday season while minimising the cost by PCI compliance by visiting the link below.

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