Mobile has played a huge role in cementing the dominance of what BI Intelligence has described as the Big Three e-commerce retailers, Amazon, eBay, and Wal-Mart.
Mobile-only users account for one-fourth to one-third of the total U.S. digital audience for each of these retailers.
The key to mobile success for Amazon, eBay and Wal-Mart is not that they have apps on multiple platforms and state-of-the-art mobile websites.
In a recent report, BI Intelligence finds that they do have these things, but the real key is that they have each devoted significant resources to creating a mobile customer experience from the ground-up, so that it’s truly adding something rather than just being another point of contact.
Here’s how each of the Big Three have made mobile so effective:
- eBay has made it easy for mobile users to participate in auctions on-the-go. Auctions and mobile are a powerful combination since smartphone shoppers are now able to check on their bids in time-sensitive auctions from anywhere, any time of day.
- The company has also focused on search and discovery. One of the keys to eBay’s success is the thrill of finding hard-to-locate items, locally-available items, and deals. eBay has organised its app around search, product images, and personalised feeds and interests.
- eBay has also single-mindedly attacked frictions in terms of payment, leaning on its PayPal payments platform to make payments easier.
- Wal-Mart has to strived move faster on mobile than it did on PC-based e-commerce. Neil Ashe, the company’s top e-commerce executive, told Fast Company last year that Wal-Mart “is going to go away if we don’t get the Internet and mobile right.”
- Wal-Mart also has been noticeably aggressive in providing avenues for price-conscious mobile customers to find special deals. For example, this year Wal-Mart is letting mobile customers preview Black Friday offers and local ads.
- Wal-Mart’s app isn’t all about attracting online shoppers and engaging mobile users, it’s also about directing them to Wal-Mart stores, and helping them shop there.
- Amazon’s mobile experience is part-and-parcel of its celebrated focus on the customer experience. Amazon mobile is a blend of seamless 1-click payments, intuitive navigation, and data-driven recommendations.
- The loyalty program Amazon Prime also serves to reinforce e-commerce purchasing, rewarding frequent customers with free shipping and video streaming . These privileges tend to enmesh users deeper within the Amazon ecosystem and its world of e-commerce, media distribution, and hardware.
In full, the report:
- Advances the “50-30-40 rule,” for mobile commerce properties, which starts with the idea that 50% of the audience should be accessing on mobile.
- Analyses the threat to e-commerce from “reverse showrooming,” which is when customers browse online but shop in physical stores.
- Studies the cases of eBay, Amazon, and Wal-Mart in order to see what they have done on mobile, and why.
- Looks at the use of the mobile Web vs. apps for the Big Three, and how each plays a different role depending on where the consumer is accessing.
- Discusses and compares the “mobile lift,” or the incremental mobile audience for the Big Three retailers.
Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through his personal investment company Bezos Expeditions.