Business Leaders Show Uncertainty on How to Drive Transactions via Mobile, Social

While email and search generate the greatest amount of online sales, mobile and social channels allow retailers to influence the buyer journey via relevant, supportive content.
Customer Experience

Despite the evolution of the average online interaction, consumers continue to rely upon brand websites for their e-commerce transactions. Yet, while email and search typically drive such retail sales, mobile and social platforms now play an ever-increasing role in the shoppers' decision-making process.

EPiServer's recent "2014 e-Commerce Survey" explores how mobile and social influence the customer experience by analyzing which of today's most popular channels generates business sales. The study, which polled more than 100 CEOs, vice presidents, directors, and e-commerce managers at the 10th Annual Internet Retailer Conference, highlights that, while many B2B and B2C leaders are still unsure of how to take full advantage of mobile and social, organizations across industries must embrace these channels in order to meet consumer demand. Mobile and social, in particular, allow retailers to share relevant content throughout the buyer journey, supporting the consumers' search for information and guiding shoppers toward completing their purchases.

The following statistics examine how Web, mobile, and social platforms impact transactions and sales, which strategies currently garner the most attention, and how e-commerce companies plan to invest in the future:

  • Overall, 41 percent of respondents claim that less than 20 percent of business sales come through their websites, while 7 percent say more than 60 percent of sales come through their website.
  • While 64 percent of those surveyed say less than 20 percent of sales come through mobile transactions, responsive sites (47 percent) and mobile sites (45 percent) generate the most mobile activity Mobile applications, on the other hand, only drive 8 percent of mobile sales.
  • When it comes to social networks, the majority of respondents (68 percent) say such platforms drive less than 20 percent of total sales. Transactions that do occur typically take place via Web (93 percent).
  • According to those surveyed, organic research (49 percent), email (36 percent), and paid research (26 percent) rank as the most important traffic sources for new customer acquisition.
  • Respondents currently depend upon Web (66 percent), social (40 percent), and search (37 percent) as their preferred channels for new customer acquisition.
  • In the future, both B2B and B2C companies plan to invest in mobile (57 percent), Web (53 percent), and social (40 percent) to expand customer outreach and relationships.
  • Though 60 percent of those polled believe they've mastered Web e-commerce strategies, fewer than one-third have mastered the necessary mobile and social skills (28 percent and 27 percent respectively).

Key takeaway: While the results indicate that mobile and social platforms rarely garner direct sales, said channels do have the power to drive decisions. Though consumers may currently hesitate to trust mobile and social as mediums for transactions, the same shoppers also depend upon these platforms to inform and influence their choices. Consumers now fully expect to find relevant, supportive content via all available channels. Thus, companies must continue to invest in mobile, social, and search platforms, for they need to be able to deliver such content at every touchpoint along the customer journey. Content has the ability to educate shoppers and cultivate consumer trust. Therefore, retailers must continue to invest in these channels' strengths in order to connect with customers and meet demand as necessary.