Improving the Quality of the OmniChannel Digital Experience - Part 1

Posted by Kate Jurras on Wed, Feb 20, 2013

Please welcome this week's guest blogger: Lorenz Jakober, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Akamai Technologies. Responsible for the product marketing of Akamai's Aqua product line, Jakober brings a wealth of experience focused on web and mobile application design, performance optimization, usability, and delivery. Prior to joining Akamai Technologies he drove mobile product marketing strategy and the complexity at the edge theme for Compuware Gomez. This is part one of a two-part blog post from Lorenz.

We all know digital commerce is evolving. It used to be pretty simple. A person would visit your ecommerce web application from her PC over a wired connection. You probably had to support one, maybe two browsers. The world has changed. No longer do consumers shop only from their desks. We have entered the age of couch commerce, showrooming and price check apps on mobile devices.

In fact, the Internet and mobile devices in particular have changed our lives – including how we shop. As Charles Golvin from Forrester likes to point out: We no longer go online – we are online. And this trend is only going to accelerate in the coming years – in fact analysts like Mary Meeker predict that for the first time in 2013 the installed base for smartphones and tablets will exceed PCs. This is not tablet and smartphone shipments – that was surpassed in Q4 2010 – this is the number of devices in the hands of actual end- users.

Graph 1

This growth in smartphone and tablet adoption has led to a significant increase in mobile revenue and traffic for a lot of retailers. In particular this latest holiday shopping season as much as 24% of all internet shopping traffic was from mobile devices - versus just 6% two years ago.

For some retailers in particular, mobile represents an even bigger opportunity – look at Fab, eBay or Rue La La. eBay in particular had invested significantly in mobile and is now reaping the benefits. A few years ago virtually nothing – for 2013 they expect to exceed $20 billion in volume from mobile alone. And eBay is not unique in this approach. In a recent interview Jason Goldberg from Fab highlighted that Fab's iPad members are off the charts in terms of LTV, and people who join Fab via iPad are more than 10 times more valuable to Fab right now than someone who joins via web. In addition close to 56% of all of Fab’s revenue on Christmas in the US was via their mobile apps.

But let’s keep in mind that mobile doesn’t exist in a vacuum. In fact, mobile is just another consumer touch point - albeit becoming a more important one - that enables even closer engagement with your customers. In addition mobile has been a core driver in blurring the lines between offline and online shopping experiences. Recent surveys from Google and Nielsen found that 51% of consumers research online and then visit the store to purchase and a whopping 89% use smartphones while shopping in stores. This is what OmniChannel commerce is all about – how do you engage customers across all channels with a consistent, quality experience – whether they are accessing your iPhone app in-store or your website on their tablet at home.

At this point you might be wondering – why is it so important that I engage OmniChannel consumers? Recent research found that OmniChannel shoppers spend 71% more than single channel shoppers. In other words you need to keep your OmniChannel shoppers happy and convert as many single channel shoppers as possible. Let’s look at a concrete example –Marks and Spencer in the UK. According to a recent interview with Laura Wade-Gery, customers who shop on Marks & Spencers’ website as well as in their store spend four times as much as single channel shoppers. She goes on to elaborate that if you throw mobile into that mix they will spend 8 times as much. 8X – that seems like a pretty convincing argument to deliver quality experiences to your OmniChannel customers and keep them happy.