Measuring Mobile ROI: Mobile-Influenced Sales are Crucial, and Often Forgotten

There are three letters that come up anytime your company explores a new project: R-O-I, also known as return on investment. It is ultimately the deciding factor in whether or not an initiative moves forward, but what do you do when the ROI is difficult to calculate? This is the case with mobile-optimized solutions.

Based on consumer behaviour and industry trends, it’s clear that a mobile solution has become a must-have. Mobile traffic continues to increase across industries, and has hit a major threshold in the enterprise apparel industry with mobile traffic surpassing desktop traffic for the first time.

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Mobile ROI

While these trends are a good starting point, you’ll need to demonstrate the actual ROI of a mobile solution to get buy-in from your senior management team. The “investment” is generally fairly easy to calculate, but many struggle to quantify the “return.” When it comes to the return on a mobile solution, there are two parts to consider:

  1. The measurable return
  2. The mobile-influenced return

The Measurable Return

The measurable return allows you to compare concrete numbers to determine the impact of your investment. The impact can be calculated through A/B testing or by looking at year-over-year results.

Here are the metrics that you should be considering:

Mobile Revenue
No explanation needed here, mobile revenue should increase after implementing a mobile solution.

Average Order Value
If the average order value (AOV) decreases after mobile optimization, don’t panic. This isn’t necessarily bad. Mobile-optimized experiences remove friction in the purchasing process, which may drive consumers to make small purchases that they wouldn’t have bothered with otherwise. This would decrease the AOV, but increase overall revenue.

Mobile Conversion Rate
The mobile conversion rate should increase after mobile optimization due to improved performance, a more streamlined checkout process and right-sized user interface elements.

Visits
Mobile optimization should result in more visits due to improved SEO and increased repeat visitors. This won’t be immediate so you shouldn’t expect to see results for a few months.

Bounce Rate
The improved shopping experience should reduce the bounce rate as the enhanced usability of site will discourage customers from navigating away from the page.

Pages per Session
Don’t worry if pages per session decreases as a mobile solution generally delivers a more streamlined shopping experience. Since the number of checkout steps is reduced, and the user spends less time navigating through the wrong pages, the pages per session could be lower after mobile optimization. Looking at which pages users are viewing may give you a clearer view of their journey, for example, Number of Products Seen per Session.

Time on Page
Time on page is a metric that you may intuitively think should go up after mobile optimization, but a decreased time on page could be positive. A mobile-optimized solution enhances the site’s overall performance so pages will load faster, decreasing the time on page. The user is also able to find the right information more easily, enabling them to move through the site quicker.

The Mobile-Influenced Return

The measurable return provides a baseline return, but it isn’t the whole story. This number provides you with the minimum return on investment, but in reality, it will likely be much higher due to mobile-influenced sales. This is where calculating ROI gets tricky, but the benefit to your bottom line is potentially huge.

Forrester research shows that consumers are becoming so device agnostic that 51% will begin their path to purchase with whatever device is closest. Someone standing in line at a coffee shop may like the shoes of the person in front of them in line, so they pull out their smartphone to look up the price. Later that evening, they compare competitor prices on their tablet, and ultimately they purchase the shoes in the store the following day. From the brand’s perspective, this sale is attributable to the in-store shopping experience. However, if the consumer wasn’t able to easily find the price of the shoes on their smartphone in the coffee shop, they may never have been driven to make that purchase.

It’s difficult to quantify all your mobile-influenced sales, but there are factors you can look at which indicate that mobile optimization is impacting in-store and desktop sales. If you don’t consider these factors, then you may be hugely undervaluing the ROI of your mobile channels.

There are a number of features on your mobile website which will lead a customer towards a purchase, even if that purchase doesn’t happen on mobile. The path to purchase happens across multiple devices, so by creating a better mobile experience you are not only driving mobile sales, but desktop and in-store sales as well.

Here are the factors to consider:

Repeat Visitors
Incentivizing your customers to log-in will give you the clearest picture of their shopping journey across all devices. To encourage this behaviour, ensure that logging in and creating a new account are as frictionless as possible on mobile devices.

Store Locator
This drives in-store sales by getting your customers in the door. It is important that the store locator is easy to find and use on mobile as 70% of smartphone shoppers use this function en route to the store.

Product Detail Views
Increased views of product detail pages indicate that more customers are researching on mobile, even if they ultimately end up purchasing on desktop or in-store.

Product Reviews
Forty-two percent of in-store consumers conduct research online while in store. By making your product reviews easy to find, you can drive these in-store consumers to purchase.

Email Sign-Ups
Customers who sign up for emails are opting in to receive offers, coupons, or information from your brand. This is a good indication that they are close to purchasing across one of your channels, even if it isn’t mobile.

Social Sharing
Creating a mobile-optimized site with the same URL as the desktop site enables social sharing. If a user shares a page with one of their social networks, a friend can click that link across any device without running into a broken experience.

App Downloads
Generally, those that shop on your app are your most loyal customers. As such, an increased number of app downloads can indicate more returning visitors resulting in increased revenue.

Benchmarking Results

We looked at all the IR 500 Companies with 1 million visits or more per month, and compared results from retailers with mobile-optimized sites to those with non mobile-optimized sites. Here are the benchmark results across a few key industries, as well as the overall IR 500.

Measuring Mobile ROI

As you can see, online sales and conversion rates for retailers with mobile-optimized sites are significantly higher compared to retailers without mobile-optimization.* The mobile solutions have improved the overall shopping experience, driving more customers to purchase, and increasing the overall sales and conversions across devices.

Now It’s Your Turn

Now that you have a framework to calculate the ROI of a mobile-optimized solution, you can build a strong case for the value of improving the customer’s mobile shopping experience. Once you’ve used your persuasive skills (backed by a solid ROI) to convince your senior management team of the value of executing a mobile-optimized website, download the Design Guide below to create the ultimate shopping experience for your customers.

Get The Design Guide Now

*Caveat: correlation doesn’t necessarily prove causation.

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