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Maximising mobile optimised sites to improve conversions and boost average order values

It is no secret that mobile commerce has grown significantly in recent years. With more sophisticated devices and better connectivity, consumers are changing the way they access the internet.

Across the performance marketing channel, traffic and sales generated through mobile devices has rocketed since the start of 2011. In this time we have seen traffic through mobile handsets increase from 1.8% to 13.67% while sales have increased from 1.4% to 8.5% in the same period. This is indicative of consumers not just using their phones for research purposes, they are also purchasing in significant volumes.

Online retailers that are not taking advantage of this shift in purchasing patterns and optimising their sites for mobile are in danger of being left behind.#

It has been possible to look at retailers’ data across a number of sectors to see the impact of having a mobile optimised site on both conversion rates and average order values. With a fully optimised mobile site in place, the customer journey is simplified and visitors are able to check out with minimal fuss. When landing on an un-optimised site through a mobile handset, it can be frustrating when trying to add products to a basket and make a purchase. More often than not, this leads to a visitor not completing the transaction. While they may return through a desktop to complete the purchase, another more worrying scenario is they may opt to buy from a competitor with an optimised site for mobile.

Looking at retailers within the same sector we are able to understand the impact of an optimised site on conversion rates and basket values.


Online retailers A and B both sell gifts. Their product ranges are similar and the volume of traffic they each receive through mobile handsets is in excess of 10%. While retailer A has embraced m-commerce and provides a mobile optimised experience for visitors through handsets, retailer B does not have a mobile site, instead directing visitors to the desktop version of their site. We have seen superior performance through mobile handsets for retailer A. Mobile traffic converts at 5.3% for this brand whereas retailer B only converts at 1.3%

While additional factors such as price competitiveness or delivery options could have some bearing on the difference, there is a strong correlation between optimised and un-optimised for mobile within this sector.


Looking at the retail sector, we see similar traits across two retailers that specialise in footwear. Both brands are similar in terms of their product range and each receives a significant proportion of traffic through mobile handsets. Retailer C has opted for a mobile optimised site while retailer D directs visitors to their desktop site. As a result, retailer C has a significantly higher conversion rate through mobile handsets. It converts at 3.2% whereas retailer D converts at barely a third of this rate.


Lastly, we have compared two brands within the travel sector. While they do not receive as significant a share of traffic through mobile handsets as the other sectors we investigated, approximately 5% of their traffic has originated through handsets. The impact of an optimised user journey is evident once again. Retailer E has a mobile optimised site and converts at 5.8%. Retailer F does not and it converts at an incredibly low 0.8%. When you consider that retailer E will record 500 more sales than retailer F for every 1000 clicks it is evident travel is a sector that suffers most when landing on a site not optimised for handsets.

In addition to the improvement in conversion rates, advertisers with sites optimised for mobile also benefit from increased average order values (AOV).

A large online retailer with a high street presence has seen AOV through the mobile optimised version of the site 8.5% higher than when visitors have opted to be directed to the desktop site.  Extending this to look at the actual handset the iPhone had the most significant impact. AOV was up 22.7% when transacting through the mobile site vs. desktop.

Additionally, the footwear brand investigated saw a higher AOV when transacting through the optimised version of the site. In fact, this also outperformed desktop with AOV 12% higher when purchasing through a mobile handset.

To conclude, the impact of a mobile optimised site should not be underestimated. Consumers visiting retailer’s sites through mobile handsets are not only more likely to convert when landing on an optimised site and are likely to spend more. The retailers embracing m-commerce will continue to reap the rewards, while those yet to join the m-commerce revolution will continue to miss out on profitable opportunities.

Matt Swan, Client Strategist – Affiliate Window

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