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What this Ecommerce Platform Learnt about the Shift to Mobile Shopping: Hoodies, Tablets & Mobilegeddon

Demand for Brand Street is high showing just how popular mobile tech is today
Philip Rooke
August24/ 2015

As a print-on-demand, e-commerce merchandising platform we have been spending a lot of time focusing on the mobile-optimisation of our site. Part of this process has been a review of the mobile shopping habits of our customers across Europe. During the last quarter of 2014 and the first quarter of this year we monitored activity on our platform. The results from this review are not necessarily what we expected in terms of what people buy, when they buy it and what they will pay. This is what we learned:

The eCommerce platform shift to mobile

Mobile sales across our international markets show that people are not just browsing via mobile anymore but they are buying too. During a mobile visit, the probability that a product will be added to the shopping bag is twice more likely than during a visit via PC. Compared to a traditional purchase via a desktop, the likelihood of a mobile purchase in the evening is a quarter higher and it’s twice as likely in the mornings.  Our data revealed some interesting stats about shoppers across Europe: the British are more likely than the French or Germans to shop via their mobile. Our data shows that 30% of sales from the UK come via a mobile device compared to Germany (25%) or France (17%).

Pricier items can make up a bigger share of mobile shopping pie 

A smaller screen is supposed to mean a smaller basket size. The theory is that if consumers can’t see the product very well, they won’t want to risk a big purchase. Now, it may be because it was the winter, but we found that during Q4 2104 and Q1 2015our mobile shoppers were buying a lot of hoodies, which are one of our more expensive items.  Regardless of the weather, this is not something we would expect to see. For us, hoodies are a more expensive choice compared to t-shirts, or long-sleeved shirts and we see solid sales of them via a PC. Surprisingly, as a share of the mobile sales, they have a bigger slice of the pie. They are the third most common purchase on mobiles across Europe, after premium and standard t-shirts, which are cheaper items.  So perhaps the smaller screen price threshold is less of problem than was previously thought? Of course, optimising your site for mobile could mean that shoppers are more prepared to buy premium items and there might now be fewer concerns around mobile shopping security too. 

When is mobile shopping happening? Early in the week & evenings in the UK 

Our review also shows that there seem to be distinct mobile shopping patterns in the UK. For example: The beginning of the week is busier than the end with buyers across Europe, with the British more likely to shop on a Tuesday! Four out of 10 visitors access the site via their mobile at the weekend (compared to a third during the week). The British and Germans do their shopping via tablet in the evening; 20% of all our tablet orders in the UK are made between 6.00pm and midnight. However, in Germany, 50% of visitors to the site in the early morning (between 7 and 8am) are from phones and 38% between midnight and 6am.

So why are these results important?

For some online retailers Google’s search rules changes earlier this year created mobilegeddon, as they fell off the radar. But mobile sales are expected to rise to nearly 50% of all transactions in the coming years and our review shows that the shift to mobile is happening across Europe, with very rapid rises in both mobile browsing and purchasing. Regular reviews of sales and mobile usage are therefore an increasingly important part of any ecommerce company’s strategy for success. At Spreadshirt we have spent the last couple of years optimising our platform for mobile use, introducing a new check-out and a smartphone-optimised marketplace. As a result, in some cases over 50% of our traffic now comes from mobile. We’ve also seen a tripling of mobile sales since optimisation.

Mobile-readiness is just one of the many things a modern customer demands, but we discovered it can have a big impact on sales. Our mobile shopping trend review has helped us focus the shift to mobile shopping and some of the unexpected changes this has produced. Hoodies, tablets and mobilegeddon are just the beginning. We’re very interested to see how our customers’ mobile shopping habits develop.

Author: Philip Rooke, CEO of Spreadshirt. Follow him on Twitter @PhilipRooke

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Philip Rooke

As CEO of Spreadshirt, Philip Rooke brings a laser focus to delivering a simple and easy customer experience and seasoned experience in scaling business processes to address and deliver precisely what a customer needs and demands. Philip Rooke launched his career in the internet business starting in media and eventually evolved into a leadership role with leading e-commerce retailer Tesco.com. He developed a finely-honed, customer-centric approach during his 16 years in the industry, where he was part of the team that transitioned Tesco.com into £1 billion in sales, making them one of the most successful retailers in the world across both the food and non-food industries. Philips’s specific expertise has been all about delivering the best customer experience in rapidly growing industry-leading businesses like Tesco.com, SkinStore, and Carlton Television.