Google has stressed the importance of mobile shopping for some time now, but the tech behemoth recently conducted a new study that breaks down exactly how we make purchases while on the go. Though foot traffic at brick-and-mortars has decreased by 57 percent over the past five years, the value of a shopper's visit has nearly tripled. (Plus, "near me" searches for businesses have doubled in the past year.) This means that retailers not only have to step up their offline game, but their e-commerce game also has to be on point. Read on to find out how shoppers are using mobile to make purchase decisions, along with a few new features (and tips) for retailers and marketers — just before the holiday shopping season kicks in come October.
Shopping searches aren't specific
According to Google, mobile shopping searches continue to increase 30 percent year over year, with 40 percent of those shopping-related searches containing broad terms like "summer dresses" or "women's athletic clothing." For retailers advertising on the search platform, Google now offers Showcase Shopping ads, which will feature a more visually appealing collection of options from each merchant, rather than a list of single, specific search results. Retailers can also fully customize and choose what appears in a Showcase Shopping ad.
Videos and images can influence a purchase
Have you been coaxed into buying an item because you saw it on an influencer's Instagram? You're not alone. In fact, 64 percent of women shopping for apparel on their smartphones are influenced into purchasing products that are displayed in context. YouTube has also played a role in consumers' mobile purchases, too. Almost half of the U.S. population (47 percent) reference videos at least once a month while shopping, which is why Google's TrueView, launched last spring, has updated with a new companion banner. So, if you start to see a group of beauty products displayed underneath your favorite vlogger's new video, that's the result of an ample opportunity for retailers to gain more eyes (and dollars) from shoppers.
And so can a shopper's checkout experience
If a retailer's site runs too slow, or if a shopper is required to create a new user account (ugh), then there's a 29 percent and 23 percent chance, respectively, that he or she will instantly log off and ditch a potential purchase. Bottom line? Make sure your pages load quickly and seamlessly, and provide your shoppers with plenty of payment options — like PayPal or Android Pay — as well as the ability to pick up a purchase in-store.
Shoppers want the "best" products
The Internet has made us more informed shoppers, intuitively browsing product reviews on YouTube or organizing a retailer's inventory according to its best sellers. Mobile searches for "best" products have grown more than 50 percent in the past year, with a whopping 88 percent of shoppers trusting online reviews as much as personal recommendations. With this realization, Sephora has focused its app on product descriptions and reviews and, as a result, experienced a 167 percent jump in mobile orders within one year. If you think this doesn't apply to purchases made in IRL, think again: About 76 percent of shoppers who search for a particular product's local availability will visit a business within 24 hours.
Online shopping has gone beyond country borders
Though not as prevalent in the U.S. compared to overseas, online shoppers are more willing than ever to purchase products from e-commerce businesses of a different country. In Australia, Switzerland, Canada and the U.K., Google is testing a currency exchange tool in its shopping search results, so users can conveniently convert prices rather than, er, Googling them.