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UK Retailers must prepare for mobile and social media Christmas rush, says IBM

Online retailers must prepare to capitalise on Christmas e-revenues through better interaction with customers on mobile devices and via relevant social media to maximise sales.

LONDON, U.K. - 13 Oct 2011: Sales driven by social media, and mobile retail are both set to play a bigger role in this year’s Christmas shopping season according to the IBM Coremetrics 2011 UK Christmas Season Readiness Report.

Using data gathered from more than 150 contributing UK retailers, IBM predicts that mobile traffic as a percentage of all retail site visits will hit double figures by Christmas 2011, having grown from just over 4 per cent to 7.2 per cent between November 2010 and May 2011. In the same time period, the contribution of mobile as a per cent of all online site sales nearly doubled, from 3.2 per cent to 6.1 per cent, which suggests further growth for mobile as a sales channel is likely in the run-up to Christmas.

The benchmark also found that mobile users exhibit a trend for fewer page views (5.8 compared with an average of 8.4, across all means of going online), spend less time on websites (4 minutes and 13 seconds, versus 6 minutes and 24 seconds across all means of going online) and display higher bounce rates to other sites (39.6 per cent compared with 32.8 per cent).

“Despite the attractiveness of engaging with customers on the move, mobile brings with it unique considerations and challenges,” said Marcel Holsheimer, global marketing executive for Enterprise Marketing Management (EMM) for IBM. “Using a mobile device to browse, compare prices, check availability and store locations or make a purchase is convenient for the consumer, which can translate into significant conversion opportunities – but only if the etailer delivers a compelling mobile experience. Etailers therefore need to monitor and optimise the mobile browsing experience to counteract mobile users’ tendency for short and erratic periods online.”

Social media contribution to retailer site traffic also grew consistently during the 7 months covered by the report.

From a social media perspective, users behave in a more efficient manner in terms of sales conversion. They are twice as likely to convert, at an average rate of 11 per cent versus 6 per cent overall. This conversion rate, when viewed in conjunction with other behaviour, also suggests social users are more receptive to offers. Their high bounce rate of nearly 62 per cent, coupled with a low average time spent  on the websites of just over 3 minutes, suggests they are responding to social media-only offers – such as Facebook coupons or exclusive offers advertised on Twitter.

“With the recession still very much front of mind, many savvy e-shopper are buying surgically,” said Holsheimer, “They know what they want and can hone in on it with far less browsing than in previous years. Smart etailers still have time to step up and expand their mobile and social networking platforms in time for this year’s festive season, as way to deepen engagement with their prized customers, strengthen their long-term loyalty – and, convert sales via the customer’s personal channel of choice.”

The IBM Coremetrics 2011 UK Christmas Readiness Report is available to download in full here http://measure.coremetrics.com/corem/getform/reguk/holiday2011-wp

About IBM Coremetrics Benchmark

The findings in this press release is based on data collected by Coremetrics Benchmark between November 2010 and May 2011. Coremetrics Benchamrk captures online marketing results and commerce data from more than 150 contributing UK retailers. 

About IBM

IBM, the IBM logo, ibm.com, Smarter Planet and the planet icon are trademarks of International Business Machines Corporation, registered in many jurisdictions worldwide. Other product and service names might be trademarks of IBM or other companies. For a current list of IBM trademarks, please seewww.ibm.com/legal/copytrade.shtml. All other company, product or service names may be trademarks or registered trademarks of others. Statements concerning IBM's future development plans and schedules are made for planning purposes only, and are subject to change or withdrawal without notice. 

Contact(s) information

Sally Forge
UK External Relations
+44(0)208 867 8086
sally.forge@uk.ibm.com

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