(Image credit/Pixabay/FunkyFocus)New research shows that UK small businesses are continuing to lose mobile commerce sales by not offering websites that adapt for easy use on smartphones. Mobile blind spot could be costing businesses a slice of £25 billion in mobile spending in 2019.

Mobile commerce (customers using smartphones and tablet devices to shop online) is growing rapidly. Many retailers, small businesses as well as international enterprises, are now thinking ‘mobile first’ for all of their online activity.

PayPal’s mobile commerce research reveals that 42% of people are buying via their mobile phone at least once a week. This rises to 65% for consumers age 25 – 34. However, only 17% offer websites designed for these small portable screens. This shows no improvement from last year. A vast gap has also appeared between consumer expectations and what small businesses provide. While 9 out of 10 small businesses with mobile-friendly websites think that they offer customers a good experience, only 4 out of 10 consumers agree.

The research also identifies a growing opportunity for businesses that are mobile-friendly, UK consumers have grown more confident spending on mobiles and are now willing to spend more than £100 in an average mobile transaction, up from £80 in 2017.

Mobile commerce: a changing retail landscape

In a nod to the changing retail landscape, 22% of consumers also said they prefer shopping on their mobile rather than the high street. This figure has more than doubled since 2016. Thirty percent of consumers said they expected to shop on their mobile more often in the next year.

(Image credit/LinkedIn/ Nicola Longfield, Director of Small Business at PayPal UK)
Nicola Longfield, Director of Small Business at PayPal UK

Commenting on the findings, Nicola Longfield, Director of Small Business at PayPal UK said, “With people increasingly shopping on their mobile phones, small businesses need to wake up. There is still a large gap between what customers want, and what they are receiving. If websites remain difficult to use, small businesses will simply miss out on sales.

“There are relatively easy fixes that business owners can make to get more mobile sales. For instance, formatting websites for scrolling without needing to zoom in, can make a huge difference.”

Mobile Experts top tips

PayPal’s mobile experts offer three top tips for small businesses looking to sell on mobile:

  • Small screen, big results: 47% of consumers admit to having abandoned mobile purchases because the experience was too slow or difficult. Making sure your website is easy and quick to use on small screens will cut down on lost sales.
  • Need for speed: Almost a third (32%) of shoppers opt for mobile over any other device because of the speed of use. Offering a quick and simple way to pay at the checkout process and turn browsers into buyers.
  • Trust pays off: 56% of mobile shoppers say they are more likely to purchase from websites that offer a recognised payment method. Capitalising on that trust by including options such as PayPal can help secure sales.

A Barclays Plc report estimated that mobile commerce spending will account for almost half of all retail sales by 2024.

Enterprise Times: What this means for retailers?

The UK is now a ‘smartphone society’ according to Ofcom, where: “Two thirds of people now own a smartphone, using it for nearly two hours every day to browse the internet, access social media, bank and shop online.”

But, the impact of mobile commerce reaches beyond simply making purchases. Consumers use mobile devices at every stage of the process. To research products, check specifications, compare prices, payment and then checking on delivery. All of these activities are undertaken, while sitting on the sofa, commuting to work or standing in the store.

For small businesses, it only takes a few changes to make websites more user-friendly for busy consumers. When redesigning digital real estate, small businesses must insist a responsive web design approach is adopted. Responsive Web Design is about using HTML and CSS to automatically resize, hide, shrink, or enlarge, a website, to ensure web pages render well on a variety of devices and window or screen sizes, including smartphones. If small businesses continue to fail on their websites, they will simply continue to lose billions of pounds in revenues.


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