Robert Kneschke - Fotolia

Smartphones and speed changing the demands on retailers

More orders are being placed via smartphones but those retailers that take time to respond will be penalised by customers

Those resellers that use the web to pitch and sell their wares need to be aware that not only are more people happy to buy via mobile phones but more are likely to do so as screen sizes grow.

The equation seems to be that the larger the mobile screen size the more comfortable users are with buying online. That is continuing to happen despite the decline in the appetite for tablets.

Figures from the latest IMRG Capgemini eRetail Sales Index has found that £133bn was spent online with UK retailers last year, which was up by £18bn on the previous twelve months.

The expectation is that the trend will continue and the market will increase by 14% this year as users become more comfortable with online ordering.

What is often good for consumers creeps in  as buying behaviour in the corporate world. Although the focus of this research was on the user side of the spectrum there are clear messages that should be taken on board by the channel and those specialising in B2B sales.

"Few would have anticipated the decline in sames made on tablets, but with sales made through overall mobile devices generating over 50% of visits, combined with the sweeping growth of both visits and conversions from smartphones, mobile continues to head towards being the number one sales channel," said Bhavesh Unadkat, principal consultant in retail customer engagement design at Capgemini.

"With the investment retailers are making in improving the customer shopping experience, I am sure [2017] will be another record breaking year for online sales," he added.

Justin Opie, managing director at IMRG, said that Black Friday, which was now a couple of years old as a UK shopping event, had helped increase festive online sales. But he also underlined the role that technology was playing in the way people were changing buying habits.

"Sales through smartphones are continuing to grow at a very strong rate, which is increasing the times and places in which people can browse and engage with online retailers," he said.

The findings about increased web sales come at a time when research from other quarters has shown that those who respond slowly to customer queries are going to lose business.

“Ensuring that customers receive an informative and timely response is key to driving satisfaction," said David Atherton, director of customer experience at

David Paulding, regional director for Genesys Interactive Intelligence, which carried out the research, warned that dealing with customers in a timely way was essential.

"Retailers can benefit from technology such as cloud-based solutions that can far more effectively handle big data analysis across all interaction types. This will ensure timeliness and consistency across every channel which will give customers the best experience possible," he said.

Read more on Sales and Customer Management