Small retailers ‘failing on mobile shopping’
Written by Peter Walker
New research shows that UK small businesses are continuing to lose sales by not offering websites that adapt for easy use on smartphones.
PayPal’s annual mobile commerce research revealed that while 42 per cent of people are buying via their mobile phone at least once a week - rising to 65 per cent for consumers aged 25 to 34 - just 17 per cent offer websites designed for these small portable screens – showing no improvement from last year.
A vast gap has also appeared between consumer expectations and what small businesses provide: while nine out of 10 small businesses with mobile-friendly websites think that they offer customers a good experience, only four out of 10 consumers agree.
The research also identifies a growing opportunity for businesses that are mobile-friendly, as UK consumers have grown more confident spending on mobiles and are now willing to spend more than £100 in an average mobile transaction, up from £80 in 2017.
In a nod to the changing retail landscape, 22 per cent of consumers also said they prefer shopping on their mobile rather than the High Street, a figure that has more than doubled since 2016 and 30 per cent of consumers said they expected to shop on their mobile more often in the next year.
Nicola Longfield, director of small business at PayPal UK, said: “With people increasingly shopping on their mobile phones, small businesses need to wake up to the fact that there is still a large gap between what customers want, and what they are receiving – if websites remain difficult to use, small businesses will simply miss out on sales.
“There are relatively easy fixes that business owners can make to get more mobile sales. For instance, offering mobile-friendly payment options like PayPal, so that customers don’t have to enter lengthy card details, and formatting websites for scrolling without needing to zoom in can make a huge difference.”
Lauren Hampshire, founder of The Milky Tee Company, explained that after setting up her breastfeeding clothes website she realised that 85 per cent of traffic was coming via mobiles, but these visitors weren’t being converted into sales because the site didn’t work as well on a smaller screen.
Following some simple changes, Hampshire saw a 28 per cent increase in sales. “Now, any changes we make to the website are done with a mobile-first mindset: at the end of the day, it’s important to put yourself in your customers’ shoes, and as a mum of two myself I know exactly what works!”