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Retailers look to tackle mobile conversion rates

The challenge of converting mobile traffic into sales dominated Drapers’ roundtable last week, as we shared some of the results of our Omnichannel survey for the first time.

The survey, which attracted responses from more than 2,000 consumers, found just 7% preferred mobile sites and apps to websites or physical stores when making purchases. Bricks and mortar remains the dominant channel, accounting for 69% of respondents, although websites were close behind with 61%.

But the question of where people are researching their purchases is more nuanced - marketers regularly say that it is difficult to assign ROI to campaigns on certain channels as the last port of call usually gets the credit.

Certainly mobile seems to be attracting the digital browser. According to East ecommerce manager Simone Williams, the contemporary womenswear retailer has grown mobile traffic 160% year on year. Converting that into transactions is proving difficult – but it does appear to be enhancing overall sales.

“A lot of customers walk into our stores showing store managers products we’ve been promoting in our emails, and saying I’d like to touch and feel and try on,” Williams said. “Our customers love the site, as it gives them a chance to see our whole range, but they often then go in-store to make the purchase.”

Boohoo head of digital marketing Antony Eden said the etailer was also seeing an increasing number of people coming through mobile devices to their website, highlighting convenience as a driver.

“If you’ve got a spare five minutes and you see something on outdoor media or you’re talking about an item, you can look it up on your mobile device and do quite a bit of research,” he told the roundtable. “If you’ve got integrated technology, consumers can put an item in a basket and convert at another time. A lot of people still have hang ups about purchasing through a mobile device, but it’s certainly something we are looking into.”

A number of retailers are working on a mobile optimised site, but for those one step ahead sales are starting to come through. At etailer Very.co.uk, for example mobile sales already account for 18% - a fact that marketing head Dan Rubel attributed to having the right technology.

“The way the [mobile] site operates is our number one priority. In the end you get a lot of flow to mobile without making any effort and therefore what is key is that once a consumer goes there, they have a simple experience and it just works.”

Full details of the roundtable, and the publication of the full Drapers Multichannel Report, will appear in 28 September issue.

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