We are continuously told by analytical marketers that mobile keeps growing in use as a platform for consumers, and also that the rate of conversion through mobile platforms has not kept up with this pace. Many brands will automatically look at the ease/complexity of payment as the cause behind low conversion rates, but this latest report from Qubit suggests something different, something which should not be ignored.

Qubit's research indicates a clear and obvious halo effect from mobile. In 2017 activity on mobile devices directly influences an average of 19% of computer revenue:  in other words, almost one fifth of all computer revenue is driven from mobile browsing. This number is made even more significant when you consider it is a 93% increase over 2016. So, whist conversion to sales may be low on the mobile devices themselves, browsing carried out on them positively drives activity on computers which in turn converts to sales. 

Essentially this demonstrates that an increasingly large volume of consumers use mobiles to 'window shop' before making the 'in-store' purchase on their computer.  

So what does this mean for travel? 

If data shows us that inspiration and research are the two most common uses for shopping on a mobile, then this gives us vital insight into customer intent. And it is this intent that should drive the development of the online customer experience created by travel brands.

Whilst ensuring fast, easy and secure payment is important, this is not the only element of the shopping experience brands need to improve on their mobile platforms. Instead, they should look at the experience of browsing and researching on mobile sites. Is there inspirational imagery to capture attention? Could video be employed to keep them on site for longer? Is there enough content to feed desire? Is it simple to discover alternative products and experiences? 

Of course, the type of travel product will also shape the type of online experience. There is a difference between quick purchases (often the enablers to the experience e.g. transport) and thoughtful purchases (often the experiences themselves e.g. destination). Whereas the quick-buys are most likely to be purchased there and then, no matter which device the consumer is on, thoughtful purchases are most likely to be made after the discovery and browsing phase has been completed. This knowledge should influence brands in how they develop their websites and landing pages, both on mobile devices and computers. 

By understanding customer intent, and by paying attention to the browsing and research experience facilitated on mobiles, brands can maximise the opportunity of the mobile halo effect, ensuring that it continues to play a vital part in their customer's path to purchase - whether driving quick purchases or influencing future purchasing behaviour.