The Death of Desktop: What Does It Mean for Retailers?

In 2015 it’s predicted that tablets will outsell PCs (desktop and laptop) for the first time, marking the end of a transition period which has seen mobile move from a marketing afterthought to a core focus in the consumer market. With this change in user and buyer habits, does this really mean the PC is dead?

Recent research from comScore shows that mobile is becoming the leading platform for shopping; “Last summer 55 percent of all time spent with online retail occurred on a mobile device. Phone accounts for 44 percent of retail Internet minutes, with tablets taking 11 percent.” Whether it’s for browsing, researching or purchasing, the proliferation of smartphones and tablets has revolutionized the relationship between consumers and retailers.

Mobile Reluctance

However, there still remains a hard core of consumers that avoid using their mobile device to actually purchase items from retailers. Twenty-three percent of respondents to an Econsultancy research study said they use their mobile to open emails, and browse offers or e-commerce sites, but will purchase items via a desktop at home.

Furthermore, when smartphone shoppers do buy, they spend 18 percent less than tablet users and 88 percent less than the average shopper, which highlights that PC users and traditional in-store shoppers should not be overlooked in favor of mobile users.

Interestingly, regardless of whether it’s via a desktop or mobile, research firm KISSmetrics says 40 percent of people will abandon a website that takes more than three seconds to load, and that a one-second delay in page response can result in a 7 percent fall in conversions.

Optimizing images, switching to a faster Web host, and cutting down on redirects can all help to address these challenges. The problem on mobile is that even when brands overcome these issues, many users are still reluctant to use their smartphone to actually make purchases, with Econsultancy concluding that 39 percent of people are concerned about security.

Prominently featuring trust logos such as “Verified by Visa” can help address this issue, but it won’t win over everybody. And there’s little marketers can do about other mobile concerns, such as the slow speed of 3G.

Whether it’s as a result of security or connectivity concerns, it appears the hard-core group of consumers who still favor PCs over mobile have helped to reduce the decline in sales of PCs. The downward trend has slowed dramatically in recent years, and is predicted to continue to flat-line over the next three to four years. Forecasts of total global sales by market intelligence firm, IDC, reveal PC shipments reduced by 34.2 million between 2012 and 2013, 19.2 million the following year, and are predicted to fall by just 2.4 million in 2015.

It appears the PC is far from dead.

Don’t Rest on Your Laurels

Having said that, what is also clear is that user reluctance about mobile shopping is also diminishing — indeed, according to comScore, one-third of online visitors to the websites and apps of the top 10 online retailers say they only use mobile devices to shop there.

Retailers cannot afford to ignore these customers, who will only increase in number with time. Digitally astute marketers are interacting with this audience through, for example, the use of targeted coupons specifically aimed at customers on the move or in-store.

The proliferation of mobile GPS technology means brands now benefit from being able to reach consumers through location-based targeting. For example, companies can now target deals toward customers searching on the phone nearby a store. Targeted coupons are an increasingly popular tactic among brands as they are now able to reach 65 percent of U.K. shoppers, compared with only 24 percent in 2012. If your customers are likely to be out and out when they read your emails, it makes sense to target them with content accordingly.

Takeaways: Four tactics to improve your email marketing for converting mobile shoppers

Keep it simple: Mobile users are far less likely to read a long email through to the end

Catch the customer’s eye: Images, games, and competitions will capture attention where a block of text may not

Give them a second chance: Many mobile users delay making a purchase until they’re back at home. A reminder email can help

Offer coupons: It’s simple, but it works — especially when the coupons are targeted by the shopper’s location

Bearing all of this in mind, it is clear mobile is becoming the favored platform among consumers and any brand’s email marketing strategy should reflect this. However, as long as some people continue to favor using a PC, it is important to keep a close eye on site visits, the type of email clients that are being used to open your messages, where customers finally purchase, and how these trends change. In this multichannel, multi-device age in which we live, it’s more important than ever that you know your audience.

Image via Shutterstock.

Related reading

specs
Mobile Payment
screen-shot-2016-09-13-at-10-20-04
amp
<