However, mobile ecommerce is beginning to impact far bigger and pricier purchases than a Venti Caramel Brulée Lattee. According to a Bankrate survey, almost half of everyone who surfs the mobile web has already made a “major financial commitment” like acquiring a car, insurance, stocks, or a mortgage on their mobile devices.
If you watch live television and aren’t able to zip past all the commercials, you have probably noticed how heavily TrueCar is promoting itself. And if you check out the company’s website, you’ll see that they put a huge emphasis on their mobile app.
The money trail
Watching where ad dollars are going is one of the best ways to get a handle on trends and TrueCar is investing heavily right now. (By the way, when Amazon experimented with online car buying back in 2000, it didn’t work out for them.)
Although about half of all mobile users say they have made at least one major purchase in this way, only 12 percent say they use their phones or tablets “always” or even “most of the time” for these big-ticket items. We can expect that number to go up dramatically as mobile device sales continue to outpace desktop and laptop sales.
Further, in the 30-49 year age group, 58 percent reported making a major purchase via some kind of mobile device. On the other hand, more than 60 percent of those age 65 or above said they never bought a big-ticket item through a mobile device.
We can also expect these numbers to increase when Millennials get north of 30 years old. Right now, many Millennials aren’t heading up households, so they are less inclined to be the persons who make these buying decisions. When they become homeowners, have families and start building up investment accounts, we can expect them to rely heavily on their mobile devices.
The mobile app alternative
Normally at this point, I’d put in a pitch for creating a mobile app for your business – and I do think that’s a good idea. However, we’re finding that mobile users spend 80 percent of their time on just five apps. In other words, many specialized apps are seldom used. They often end up living on deeply buried screens or deleted entirely.
This highlights the importance of your mobile website. You may not be able to convince a mobile user to keep your app on his or her device, but if you have a great mobile website, you may be able to capture those eyeballs anyway.
As you review and test your mobile website, put yourself in the position of a mobile user and make sure the site is useful, functional and friendly. Ask yourself this question: If a mobile user was about to buy a big-ticket item on a mobile device, does my website make that purchase easy?