Mobile usage has been on the rise for a long time and is overtaking desktop. The platform has never been more important from a retail perspective, especially with Christmas around the corner.

One of the biggest UK retailers, John Lewis, has seen smartphones are now the most popular way to shop online. Mobile accounted for 42% of its Web site visits in 2018 (a 17% year-over-year increase), however, people still prefer to make bigger, more considered purchases on desktop. These larger, more considered purchases account for 51% of sales made.

Though more people are visiting the John Lewis Web site on mobile devices, most big purchases still happen on a desktop computer.
Though more people are visiting the John Lewis Web site on mobile devices, most big purchases still happen on a desktop computer.

But more than one-fifth (21%) of sales are now made on mobile, up from 16% a year ago. Mobile apps also remain an important part of the ecosystem, with John Lewis seeing 80% of app users shop in store while 82% are members of the myJohnLewis loyalty scheme.

This shows the importance of understanding how customers use brand Web sites, which should feed into building effective digital media campaigns.

Other retailers are also capitalising on the rise of mobile by implementing easy ways to pay with mobile. Tying in loyalty programmes and creating easy payment options makes consumer uptake simple.

However, in considering mobile, the user journey is important and it is essential to consider brand-specific behaviour. As reflected in the John Lewis brand, more considered purchases are often bought on desktop. Therefore, brands need to make mobile experiences easier and more trustworthy, as well as note the importance of mobile in the research stage of the purchase journey.

John Lewis also encourages its staff to share experiences through social media to give them more of an “authentic” and “personal” voice, as well as an opportunity to share their expertise and curate content for customers. They have posted more than 3,273 pieces of content, with 99,400 engagements and a reach of 22.3 million. This shows how valuable it is to use every asset a brand has to drive awareness because digital media avenues can drive true value for a brand.

John Lewis is a great example highlighting key benefits of understanding how people are browsing, purchasing, and receiving customer service — and how this is changing over time. Once a brand understands this, it becomes clear how media can be used to influence the purchase journey effectively.