Calling all retail small business owners

By Rieva Lesonsky

Have you joined the mobile revolution yet? If not, you need to sign up now. According to a report from eMarketer, in 2017 51.2 percent of Americans (that’s 95.1 million people) will uses their smartphones to make a purchase.

Yory Wurmser, an eMarketer retail analyst, says browsing and doing research on smartphones is fairly frequent behavior for most of us, but “as mobile sites become better optimized and screen sizes grow, it’s becoming easier for shoppers to complete the purchase on the smartphone, which will drive m-commerce numbers up for the next several years.”

2017 will also be a benchmark year for m-commerce sales—eMarketer predicts that m-commerce sales on smartphones will reach $75.51 billion, or half of all retail m-commerce sales.

The rise of m-commerce purchases on smartphones will lead to a decline in m-commerce sales on tablets, from 50.6 percent of m-commerce sales this year to 48.7 percent in 2017.

Making m-commerce sales on smartphones is not without challenges. According to eMarketer, “Far more shopping sessions are initiated on smartphones than are completed on smartphones. This year, 165.8 million Americans 14 and over will shop (that is, browse, research or compare products) on a smartphone, but not necessarily complete the purchase on their phone.”

The goal is to convince consumers to buy more from their phones. Your job as business owners, says Wurmser, is “to make it as easy as possible for consumers. That means fully optimized mobile websites, a checkout process with few steps, and fully personalized merchandising.”

To put it all in perspective, eMarketer says m-commerce revenues in 2016 will represent nearly one-third (32 percent) of all ecommerce sales—but only 2.6 percent of total retail sales.