E-commerce To M-commerce: Millennials, Mobile And Holiday Shopping

Are you ready for your mobile shopper? This is the question of the year. And while businesses continue to put off their websites’ mobile optimization, shoppers continue to use their mobile devices. In fact, comScore reported last week that Q3 2013 saw $5.8 billion in mobile commerce for the quarter, up 26 percent from Q3 2012. Currently, mobile commerce (m-commerce) accounts for more than 1 in 10 e-commerce dollars.

There is little doubt that mobile commerce represents a massive opportunity — and mobile marketing optimization takes on more importance during the Q4 holiday rush as smartphone-armed shoppers hit the malls, and tablet owners shop from the comfort of their sofas. In this post, I’ll share some ways you can prepare for the 2013 holiday shopping season on a tight timeline.

Mobile Marketing: Gearing Up For The Holidays

As we approach the holiday season, we should expect a mobile shopping spike on weekends, the traditional in-store shopping days. The weekend between Black Friday and Cyber Monday was the peak time for mobile commerce-related queries in 2012.

Mobile Queries Google Shopping

During Q2 2013, the top products smartphone shoppers bought with their devices were apparel and accessories (37 percent) and event tickets (25 percent). This is just a preview of what’s to come for the 2013 holidays.

Many marketers have already begun to put mobile strategies in place to respond to these trends. In fact, earlier this year, more than 88 percent of marketers BrightEdge surveyed viewed mobile and tablet search as a key marketing priority. Shop.org’s eHoliday survey showed online retailers gearing up for the growing trend, with about 57 percent saying they had invested in optimizing their mobile websites.

Mobile Marketing & Millennials: The Opportunity

Millennials, the generation of digital natives, are heavy mobile users and prime e-commerce targets. According to Google’s 2013 Holiday Shopper Intentions report, “95 percent of Millennials plan to use the Internet as a holiday shopping resource, versus 87 percent of adults ages 35 and above.”

And that’s just the beginning. Google forecasts 88 percent of those Millennials will use their smartphone for holiday shopping, with 31 percent planning to research and even purchase on their smartphone (versus 20 percent of adults over age 35). According to Google, that’s one in three Millennial smartphone owners who plan to make a holiday purchase on their phone.


So, if you’re in the business of selling to the Millennial generation, take heed. The devices this group uses to shop this holiday season and beyond will be mobile.

Optimize For Mobile Marketing This Holiday Season

While many marketers began planning for the holiday season during the summer months, there a still a number of things that can be done to optimize sales and conversion for mobile users. Whether you need long- or short-term mobile strategies, here are three key considerations when optimizing for mobile.

1. Focus On The Site

Mobile users expect a mobile experience, and Google wants to meet those expectations. This June, Google announced that mobile site optimization would be a factor in determining mobile rankings. If marketers weren’t optimizing for the mobile user experience before, this is a wake-up call if they want to maintain rankings.

With the shopping experience happening across multiple devices, it’s important to understand how your site will render on multiple screens, and tailor the experience. Google gives examples of sites that have it right here. Take HomeDepot.com, for example:

Home Depot Multiscreen copy

Key Takeaways:

  • Follow Google’s best practices on smartphone-optimized websites.
  • If responsive design is not an ideal solution for your site, Google also supports dynamically-served HTML.
  • Flat, clean and simple design leads to greater engagement and more time on site.
  • Improve page load times. Google is less likely to rank your site highly if it’s slow to load on a mobile phone.

Websites that are not multiscreen- or mobile-ready should consider small changes to improve the user experience on top seasonal revenue-driving pages and custom product landing pages.

In the short term, utilize Google Analytics “Speed Suggestions” report to identify those pages that are poor performing, and work with its PageSpeed Insights tool to remedy critical issues.

2. Focus On The Content

Understand how mobile users search and align content around those topics. Google’s recent Hummingbird algorithm release means better results for the more conversational queries mobile users have when searching, and optimizing for mobile means producing content that addresses the needs of users on the go.

As the holiday season approaches, producing content around specific seasonal offers for mobile-optimized landing pages is key.

Key Takeaways:

  • Understand the mobile user by creating segments and optimizing content for each segment.
  • Get creative with landing page content, understand holiday keyword trends and provide offers that could be social or local.
  • Don’t use Flash on your landing pages as it is not supported by mobile.
  • Format your content accordingly and be succinct. Mobile users are looking at content on smaller screens, and users should be able to access what they need quickly.
  • Leverage social media to match the way your customers use it for the types of products you sell: tweet about products, create blog posts, link and optimize landing pages.
  • Create original content for social media, for example, promotional teasers.
  • Link and optimize your landing pages around short-term/holiday conversion campaigns.

3. Focus On Conversion

The average conversion rate on a smartphone is 0.3% versus 1.0% for desktop. However, mobile conversion varies dramatically by industry. For example, the entertainment and media category have a 1.6x better average conversion rate on mobile versus desktop as they use video content to help conversion. (You can download the full Mobile Share report here.)

Google research shows the purchase cycle is fairly quick for mobile searchers, with 81 percent of conversions occurring within 5 hours.

Google Mobile Conversions copy

Key Takeaways:

  • Think about what your customer wants to do on a mobile device. Do they save the page by emailing it to themselves to review on the desktop? Do they want to compare items? Make a fast purchase? Tailor mobile capabilities to address immediate and/or long-term needs, depending on your product. These needs may evolve as the holiday season gets shorter and shorter.
  • Don’t be afraid to use video. BrightEdge research found that the entertainment and media industries, which use video content, have 1.6x more conversions on mobile versus desktop. But remember to take into consideration how video will play on a mobile device and if it will slow down your page load time.
  • Map out all possible micro- and macro-conversions that aid in the ultimate purchase goal, tracking mobile’s role in analytics. According to Google research, 73 percent of mobile searches led to additional meaningful outcomes, such as sharing information on the page, calling the business or visiting a store (for sites with a physical location).
  • Make the conversion action simple — the fewer clicks on mobile, the better. And ensure the call-to-actions render above the fold for mobile users. Most searches from mobile devices only look at the top three listings in the search results, suggesting that consumers may not scroll to the bottom of the page they land on to find your “Buy” button.


Smartphones make shoppers smarter than ever, and tablets offer a rich shopping environment that is only going to increase in popularity as iPad Airs, Minis and Kindle Fires land in holiday gift boxes this season.

So, understand what mobile means to your business and your website. Google’s “Full Value of Mobile” tool lets any business calculate the value of things like cross-device purchases and understanding how mobile can drive sales on your site specifically.

Understand Full Value of Mobile Google copy

In order to harness the shift in shopper activity this holiday season and into 2014, consider which segments of users you’d like to target for mobile. And, pay special attention to your Millennial marketing plan this holiday season. Chances are if you’re selling products Millennials are buying, that means more mobile traffic for your business than perhaps others.

There’s no reason your site and its content should stand between you and the mobile shopper who’s ready to buy. That means focusing on site-specific strategies, and content and conversion activities, such as:

  • Knowing what your target consumer is doing on mobile when shopping, when they are doing it, and how that plays into conversion.
  • Using content and tools on your site that aid in the decision-making process for your mobile shoppers and sharing these tools via social to get the word out.
  • Having a site that is mobile optimized, and if responsive design isn’t an option right now, making small yet critical adjustments to issues that may be slowing your site down or that could improve the mobile user experience.

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land.

Related Topics: Channel: Mobile Marketing | Content Marketing | Mobile Marketing | Mobile Marketing Column | Social Media Marketing


About The Author: is the founder and CEO of BrightEdge, the leading enterprise SEO Platform. He combines in-depth expertise in developing and marketing large on-demand software platforms with hands-on experience in advanced SEO practices

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