Here’s why no ecommerce outfit can ignore mobile…or the desktop

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If you’ve ever told anyone you’re even contemplating setting up an ecommerce presence, you’ve most likely heard how important it is for you to be on mobile. If the person you were talking to was a mobile zealot, they may have even told you that your shop should be mobile or first or even mobile only. Thing is, it turns out we still prefer buying stuff on our desktops.

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According to a new report by internet research house eMarketer, the desktop will most likely continue to be a key player throughout this decade.

The report suggests that while the path to purchase increasingly starts on mobile, it’s still most likely to end on a desktop. That doesn’t just have implications for the approach that needs to be taken with ecommerce but also for how anything that can be bought online is marketed.

The first and most obvious step is ensuring that there’s a smooth transition between how something is viewed on mobile and online. The thing is, proving that a mobile activity—conducted without the tracking capability of desktop cookies—contributed to an eventual sale can be more difficult.

Matching up mobile, tablet and desktop activity so that advertisers can establish best practices therefore remains a work in progress.

Ultimately then, the future of the future of online buying lies in identifying purchase intent by blending signals from other platforms across the purchase process.

eMarketer says that advertisers are now trying to identify intent for consumers who may have come across information in any number of ways—YouTube, Twitter, mobile site, tablet, TV ad—and aligning such activity with a desktop search campaign.

At this stage, that’s something that’s still very much in the early phases of its evolution. Ultimately though, what anyone looking to sell anything online should be looking to do is invest in a marketing mix that gives people what they need on mobile, identifying them once they transition to desktop and delivering the right search results and content in a consistent format.

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