With mobile devices taking an increasing share of US ecommerce sales in the retail sector, it’s natural for businesses to look for ways to make their mobile sites more functional for this growing potential customer base. The problem for many businesses is confusion over exactly what it is mobile retail customers really want to see from mobile websites.

Just a few weeks shy of the end of 2015, EPiServer surveyed more than 1,000 adult Internet users in the US to find out. Their findings showed the most-wanted features for a mobile retail site were:

  • User reviews – 54%
  • Easy, direct customer support – 38%
  • Automatic adjustment for screen size – 38%
  • Maps and location-based functionality – 35%
  • Wish lists -27%.

Although product testimonials used to be important, this survey shows that social proof from fellow product users is critical to the buying process for the majority of Internet users. More than three-quarters of users also expressed convenience as a key part of their online shopping experience desires, not only through the quick and easy customer support options, but also in the need for less wasted time on resizing website features to fit the dimensions of their mobile device.

While the use of maps and location doesn’t necessarily bolster online retail sales, their appearance on mobile sites is an integral part of how online customers can easily be converted into in-store buyers. Retailers would also be wise to not ignore the final item on the list, as wish lists can keep products in the future buying cycle even when a particular product isn’t necessarily at the front of a consumer’s mind currently.

Regarding the importance of mobile devices to ecommerce, Demandware compared the change in mobile usage on retail sites from Q2 2014 to Q2 2015. Their findings showed a 10% drop in ecommerce site traffic from desktops, with smartphones dominating tablet devices:

  • Smartphone traffic increase – 12%
  • Tablet traffic decrease – 2%.

Interestingly, desktop devices remained the primary device for order share, showing that 69% of consumers still prefer to make purchases from a desktop regardless of how they choose to conduct their product research. As far as year-over-year order share changes from the three types of devices:

  • Desktop order share decrease – 5%
  • Smartphone order share increase – 7%
  • Tablet order share decrease – 1%.

While tablets appear to be losing popularity among online shoppers, mobile device usage as a whole is on the rise with no expectation of slowing any time soon. For businesses that don’t already provide robust mobile site functionality, ensuring the top five demanded features are present on their sites can help to win and retain online retail customers.


eMarketer. What Consumers Expect from Mobile Retail Sites. January 12, 2016.