Virtual Window Shopping on Mobile Devices Key to Purchase Decision-Making

Touch-screen browsing now a vital pre-sales research phase.

London, 31 March 2014, Online shopping is entering a new chapter. Virtual window shopping is now a key part of the research phase of making a purchase and retailers are missing out, says Spreadshirt. The e-commerce platform has today announced 15% of its online sales start with virtual window shopping (browsing on a touch screen) and forecasts the figure will rocket to 25% this year. Spreadshirt enables people and brands to create, sell and buy ideas on merchandising.

Philip Rooke, Spreadshirt CEO, explained, “Window shopping has gone virtual. People now use their tablets in the same way they used to glance at shop windows or flick through magazines, when they are in cafes, on trains, or just on the sofa. This touch-screen browsing, often on the move, is now a key part of the research phase of a purchase. But consumers are still not confident enough about their devices or the reliability of the connections to make a purchase on the move, so they wait til they’re home or in front of a device with a keyboard, to actually make the purchase”.

He continued, “The mobile touch-screen stage tends to be more social, it’s where people share ideas and look for inspiration, as well as compare products and prices. If online retailers do not provide a suitable browsing experience for virtual window shopping, they risk losing the customer altogether!”.

In 2013, Spreadshirt touch-optimised its t-shirt designer in response to changes in consumer behaviour. It has seen a 300% growth in traffic via touch-screen devices since its launch in the second half of 2013, but as 20% of Spreadshirt’s global traffic comes via search the company will not be developing an app in 2014. Spreadshirt will instead invest 3m Euros in developments across the e-commerce platform, including rolling-out touch-optimisation to create responsive design interfaces for touch screen browsers.

Some Spreadshirt Statistics

  • In 2013 Spreadshirt as a whole registered five times more orders through touch devices as in 2012, with tablet traffic growing faster than smartphone traffic.
  • In the UK visits from touch-devices doubled and orders tripled in 2013
  • Up to 10% of orders on the Spreadshirt website over Christmas 2013 were completed via touch devices. Direct sales via touch devices at Spreadshirt are single digit
  • Over Christmas 2013, Spreadshirt orders via touch devices tended to be less complex, which meant smaller baskets, but also higher conversion rates than usual.

Other Research
A recent report from Usablenet found that 65% of tablet owners in the UK and US use it for researching before buying and 63% for checking prices or store information.

PwC’s research last week Achieving total retail: consumer expectations driving the next retail business model that found that fewer shoppers are using their PC to buy online and are instead turning to smartphones and tablets.

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