This year has seen a significant shift in the way that consumers interact with brands thanks to social platforms like Instagram and Pinterest, which have fuelled an appetite for product discovery on mobile. Yet retailers are struggling to see this trend translate into sales.
Our own research over the Black Friday weekend this year in the UK found that traffic to retail sites has been primarily driven by mobile, with 33% of visitors coming from desktop and 55% coming from mobile. However, the percentage of revenue from desktop (almost 50%) is far greater than that of mobile (just 36%). The trend is even stronger in the US over this period, with 57% of revenue coming from desktop and just 34% from mobile.
Clearly, there is a lot to gain by channeling more investment in mobile. Several brands are already taking action by using AI to provide better product discovery experiences on mobile, giving them a big head start on 2018.
Luxury fashion brand Diane von Furstenberg (DvF) is using product discovery to convert mobile traffic into sales after spotting that mobile was driving at least 50% of their web traffic, but nowhere near 50% of their revenues.
“The challenge for ecommerce brands is to bridge the discovery that happens on Instagram, and similar tools, and make this discovery phase become native and within our walls,” said Felipe Araujo, DvF’s Director of Ecommerce.
We set up DvF with Qubit Aura, an AI-driven product discovery feed, on its mobile site. Aura is tailored to customer preferences, presenting users with a feed that reflects their past shopping activities. As a result, the conversion rate for mobile shoppers that engage with Aura on DvF’s site is 400% higher than the mobile conversion rate for shoppers who don’t use it.
ColourPop – a global cosmetics company with a following of over 5 million on Instagram and a large product portfolio – are also tackling mobile with AI-powered product discovery, recognising that the more relevant products you put in front of a consumer, the more likely they are to add to bag and purchase.
“The biggest thing about mobile shopping right now is if you don’t know what you’re looking for, discovering that is really difficult,” said Nate Dierks, ColourPop’s director of technology. “This has given me a lot of thought about the purpose of the mobile website: It needs to be just a stripped-down discovery page that shows you what other people are looking at, what’s popular, what’s about to sell out, and what you should know about this brand.”
Rather than just hosting a shoppable Instagram feed, ColourPop decided to develop an algorithm-based feed from Qubit Aura to drive users directly to its mobile site. Since rolling this out, ColourPop has seen a 31% open rate on the discover feed icon and a 4% uplift in revenue per visitor.
Across ecommerce, brands are starting to see they are not just competing with other retailers like Amazon which captured more than half of all online sales growth in 2016. Retailers are also now facing the mobile-friendly experiences provided by the likes of Instagram and Pinterest which have driven a taste for discovery in consumers.
2018 will be a pivotal year for retail as we see online competition heat up and every customer interaction making an impact. The winners will be those which adopt a mobile-first strategy, embracing AI to provide a better product discovery experience for consumers. Those who can pull it off will not only kick Amazon where it hurts but will also ensure lasting, revenue-driving relationships by using techniques that are proven to work.