It may not be breaking news, but it is absolutely impossible to have a conversation about trends in digital commerce without leading with mobile. It is what matters now and next. The investments of some of the biggest commerce technologies tell the story clearly; Pinterest released Buyable pins only on mobile. Marketplace retailers like Spring can only be found on mobile. And the clearest indication of all? Shopper activity proves that shopping is on phone.

As revealed in the latest Demandware Shopping Index, phones now command 41% of retail traffic share in the US, up 44% year over year. In the UK, phones have already pulled even with computers as the number one driver of traffic. By the end of the year, that will be the case globally. When we isolate just the incremental visits to digital commerce sites, phones account for 119% of that YoY growth. That’s right, the other devices are not only losing share of traffic, but losing traffic.

Phones are, to quote Charlie Sheen, winning!

This phone-first trend continues into the funnel, as phones drove all of the incremental growth in basket creation (actually 110% of the growth), while both computer and tablet shoppers created fewer baskets year over year. And, phones account for over half of the incremental orders.

So, what’s a retailer to do?

  • Ensure a full-feature mobile experience. Don’t leave any critical task out – expect that your shoppers will conduct all their business with you on a phone. Even some ecommerce leaders fall short of shopper expectations here. Mobile leaders will win.
  • Connect the shopping experience: Shoppers will continue to be cross-device and cross-channel. Use marketing, from email to display, to help identify shoppers as they move across devices and channels.
  • Focus on a key omni-channel element: the shopping basket. Phones are part of the in-store experience too. The basket is a great reminder of what they were browsing before they came into the store. Tactics like ‘recently viewed’ items can jog a shopper’s memory and increase average order values in-store.

Mobile is the fuel of digital commerce. Just as retailers like Blockbuster, Circuit City and Borders learned the hard way, history will not be kind to retailers that dare to disrespect the latest retail revolution.

The Demandware Shopping Index measures digital commerce growth and is based on an analysis of the shopping activity of over 250 million shoppers worldwide.