UK small businesses failing to capitalise on smartphone shopping boom
New research shows that UK small businesses are continuing to lose sales by not offering websites that adapt for easy use on smartphones.
Now in its third year, PayPal’s mobile commerce research reveals that while 4 per cent of people are buying via their mobile phone at least once a week, rising to 65 per cent for consumers age 25 – 34, just 17 per cent offer websites designed for these small portable screens – showing no improvement from last year. A vast gap has also appeared between consumer expectations and what small businesses provide: while 9 out of 10 small businesses with mobile-friendly websites think that they offer customers a good experience, only 4 out of 10 consumers agree.
The research also identifies a growing opportunity for businesses that are mobile-friendly, UK consumers have grown more confident spending on mobiles and are now willing to spend more than £100 in an average mobile transaction, up from £80 in 2017.
In a nod to the changing retail landscape, 22 per cent of consumers also said they prefer shopping on their mobile rather than the high street, a figure that has more than doubled since 2016; and 30 per cent of consumers said they expected to shop on their mobile more often in the next year.
Commenting on the findings, Nicola Longfield, director of Small Business at PayPal UK, said: “With people increasingly shopping on their mobile phones, small businesses need to wake up to the fact that there is still a large gap between what customers want, and what they are receiving. If websites remain difficult to use, small businesses will simply miss out on sales.
“There are relatively easy fixes that business owners can make to get more mobile sales. For instance, offering mobile-friendly payment options like PayPal, so that customers don’t have to enter lengthy card details, and formatting websites for scrolling without needing to zoom in can make a huge difference.”
Lauren Hampshire, founder of The Milky Tee Company which produces clothing for breastfeeding mums, explains how embracing mobile has helped her reach a key target audience:
“When we first started out I was looking at the website from a computer and assumed our customers were doing the same. It was only after seeing our first month’s website analytics we realised that 85 per cent of our website traffic was coming via mobiles, but we weren’t converting these visitors into sales because our website didn’t work as well on a smaller screen.
“It only took a few small changes to make our website more user-friendly for busy new mums who are often doing everything with one hand, including shopping on a smartphone! Following the change, we saw a 28 per cent increase in sales which has made a huge difference. Now, any changes we make to the website are done with a mobile-first mindset: at the end of the day, it’s important to put yourself in your customers’ shoes, and as a mum of two myself I know exactly what works!”
PayPal’s mobile experts offer three top tips for small businesses looking to sell on mobile:
- Small screen, big results: 47 per cent of consumers admit to having abandoned mobile purchases because the experience was too slow or difficult. Making sure your website is easy and quick to use on small screens will cut down on lost sales.
- Need for speed:Almost a third (32 per cent) of shoppers opt for mobile over any other device because of the speed of use.Offering a quick and simple way to pay, like PayPal One, Touch™ speeds up the checkout process and can turn browsers into buyers.
- Trust pays off: 56 per cent of mobile shoppers say they are more likely to purchase from websites that offer a recognised payment method. Capitalising on that trust by including options such as PayPal can help secure sales.