Make friends with the mobile market

As a working mum I’d be lost without my smartphone – as well as sneaking in some online shopping,  I can often be found checking work emails via my phone whilst my toddler is napping (long may that last).

Last week, my ‘day off’ (I use that term very lightly as anyone with a toddler will know it isn’t a day off) fell on Black Friday. I had a hit list and knew exactly what products I was after, and luckily working for an ecommerce tech company I knew which sites I could quickly breeze through the checkouts of. So before a busy day of soft play, sticky fingers and tantrums I set the alarm for 5am to grab a few bargains for Christmas via my smartphone before the sun and my excited toddler rose.

Turns out I wasn’t alone in my smartphone shopping, Big Data Labs revealed that I was joined by thousands of online shoppers all hoping to bag a bargain from their bed too. As the morning progressed, desktops sprung to life as workers tried to sneak a bargain before the boss caught them wagging.

Smart-Mum 2

The results on the usage of mobiles over the cyber weekend didn’t come as too much of a surprise to us at PCA towers, earlier in the month we reported that Big Data Labs saw a 133% increase of mobile transactions over the weekend of the 14th / 15th November, compared to the same time last year. Our expectations of mobile transactions to make up a third of all online transactions on Black Friday this year compared to 24% last year were pretty spot on – with 34% of transactions completed via mobile.

The stats we are seeing via Big Data Labs absolutely ring true as more and more of us are waking up (ahem) to online shopping via our mobiles. Nearly two-thirds of American adults (64%) now own a smartphone of some kind, there are over 83 million mobile handsets in the UK, and online consumers now have access to some of the fastest mobile download speeds on the planet, so it’s no wonder that mobile is hot on the heels of desktop shopping.

Investing in end to end mobile customer experience

Most of the sites I came across on my 5am shop, ticked all the boxes for mobile optimisation; simple navigation, large buttons for product refinement and selection, guest checkout, three step checkout which included simple form filling with address lookup. The best one’s however went one stage further and told me how they would use the contact details they required, such as email and phone number. I was happy to hand over these contact details as it made my life easier to get an exact delivery time via SMS.


Topshop tell me why they need my phone details.


Large category buttons from Argos make navigation on smartphones simple.


Address lookup powered by Capture+ on the Paperchase mobile site, makes form entry on smartphones  quick and easy.


More than one delivery option available from John Lewis.


Marks and Spencer sent me regular updates via SMS, even letting me know the exact time of delivery and the drivers name.

Research carried out by PCA Predict revealed that over a third of online shoppers would be more likely to share their phone number with a retailer if they made it clear how it would be used. The research highlighted the need for improved communication with customers at each touch point along their purchase journey. Capturing a valid phone number is a simple and really effective way to provide updates via SMS at times when telephone communication is more convenient – well done to Topshop and Marks and Spencer who offer this service.

Over the weekend following my Black Friday shop I received emails confirming my orders and even got an SMS from M&S on Monday morning confirming delivery time between 11:35am and 12:35pm.  I loved how precise this was as I knew exactly where I would be. I’ve only had to chase up one retailer whose order hasn’t arrived, but I have been reassured it is now on its way. Thank goodness I ordered well ahead of Christmas.

It’s not hard to keep online customers happy, the checkout experience needs to be simple and swift (especially at peak times) and retailers should inform customers every step of the way as to where the order is – especially if they are busy mums like me with a toddler about to wake up and rule the world for the next 12 hours.

CTA black friday recap