May 7, 2013, 3:57 PM

Mobile commerce sales for 18 retailers rise 74% in April

M-commerce accounts for 16% of web sales of the Branding Brand clients.

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Mobile commerce sales for 18 retailer clients of m-commerce technology provider Branding Brand jumped 74.4% from $8.2 million in April 2012 to $14.3 million in April 2013, the vendor reports. M-commerce accounted for 10.8% of the retailers’ total web sales of $76.0 million in April 2012 and 15.9% of web sales of $89.9 million in April 2013. Sales via tablets grew 70.8% from $6.5 million in April 2012 to $11.1 million in April 2013. Sales via smartphones increased 88.2% from $1.7 million in April 2012 to $3.2 million in April 2013.

“Increases in devices, functionality and familiarity all contribute to the growth of mobile commerce,” says Joey Rahimi, Branding Brand co-founder and chief information officer. “More and more people have smartphones, and thanks to competition, smartphones are getting better. In addition to improvements in device usability and functionality, we’re also seeing improvements in consumer comfort levels. It takes time to get used to the idea of buying on a phone, but it’s becoming increasingly mainstream.”

Visits from mobile devices for the 18 retailers jumped 89.7% from 6.8 million in April 2012 to 12.9 million in April 2013, Branding Brand says. 6.8 million mobile visits accounted for 19.8% of 34.3 million total visits in April 2012 and 12.9 million mobile visits represented 30.9% of 41.8 million visits in April 2013.

Visits from tablets grew 82.1% from 2.8 million in April 2012 to 5.1 million in April 2013. Visits from smartphones increased 97.5% from 4.0 million in April 2012 to 7.9 million in April 2013.

Orders placed on mobile devices for the 18 retailers leaped 92.3% from 55,778 in April 2012 to 107,236 in April 2013, Branding Brand reports. Orders placed on tablets grew 82.0% from 41,127 in April 2012 to 74,851 in April 2013. Orders placed on smartphones jumped 121.0% from 14,651 in April 2012 to 32,385 in April 2013.

The conversion rate for tablets was 1.48% in April 2012 and April 2013, Branding Brand says. The conversion rate for smartphones was 0.36% in April 2012 and 0.41% in April 2013. By comparison, the conversion rate for desktops and laptops was 1.81% in April 2012 and 1.92% in April 2013.

Conversion remains low on smartphones. Many mobile commerce experts believe the smartphone is used more for research than buying, hence the lower conversion rate. But there are steps retailers can take to boost conversion on phones, Rahimi says.

“Don’t just launch your mobile site and consider it a success: Optimize immediately,” he says. “You will discover that smartphone traffic uses the web differently than your tablet or desktop visitor. Install heat maps, analytics and event tracking, and determine benchmarks. Then, analyze the bounce and exit rates on the most popular pages of your smartphone site, compare them to your desktop site, and see where there’s room for improvement. Although the industry average for smartphone conversion is approximately one-fifth of desktop conversion, we’ve been able to bring it to half of desktop conversion for a number of clients through rapid testing and optimization.”

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