Smartphones lag behind tablets in conversions

This year, in the five shopping days from Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday, more than 50 percent of total online traffic came from mobile. According to the IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark, mobile sales were up 27.2 percent over the shopping holiday, ending in a record-breaking Cyber Monday where mobile outpaced desktop for the first time.

However, conversion on mobile still lags behind tablets, reported Women's Wear Daily. Smartphones account for 9.1 percent of all online sales and 29 percent of online traffic. And tablets make up 12.9 percent of sales for 12.5 percent of traffic.

On Thanksgiving Day alone sales via smartphones set a record, according to Adobe's Thanksgiving alert, with $254 million in sales via mobile devices by early Friday morning.

"It's certainly true that tablets drive more sales, but smartphone usage in customer journeys was much higher," Todd Huseby, partner of A.T. Kearney's digital-business forum, told Women's Wear Daily. "As that smartphone number grows further with penetration and new habits, and as tablet numbers decline, it will net-favor the smartphones."

In his opinion, even if tablets have a stronger conversion rate, it won't ever be a channel with enough traffic to be more meaningful to retailers than smartphones.

With the relatively small size of phones, retailers may want to continue to focus on adding digital to physical stores to combat showrooming and increase conversions.

Consultant Amy her Haar said that retailers don't have to push conversion at every touch point, as long as overall e-commerce revenues are up. For example, if a customer abandons a shopping cart online, he or she may still purchase the item in-store. And a visit online is still a customer engaging with a brand.

Plus, size continues to put natural constraints on mobile that don't exist on a tablet. For example, it may be hard for consumers to see fashion apparel well on the small device, creating a barrier to conversion.

"I don't think it's a failing of the smartphone that there isn't more conversion. It's a natural constraint of the device," Susan Etlinger, an industry analyst at the Altimeter Group, told Women's Wear Daily. "If someone is browsing on a smartphone and converting on a tablet, then focus on making the browsing process better. You don't necessarily have to move them to convert on the phone. If you can, that's great."

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