Up to 30% of Debenhams’ online traffic is generated by mobile devices having risen from “single digits” last year, according to Simon Forster, a director at the retail giant.
Speaking with new media age, Forster said that between 20-30% of its online traffic comes via its mobile website, or its suite of apps for both smartphone and tablet.
“Out of all our mobile properties we get somewhere in the region of 20-to-30% of traffic. Since the beginning of the year the growth has been significant, last year that figure would have been in single digits,” he said.
“In the future I could see the bulk of our traffic coming from mobile.”
Forster accredited the surge in traffic generated by such devices to the rapid uptake in tablet devices such as the iPad which he said was contributing greatly towards conversion rates, i.e. visitors actually purchasing items.
He also noted that visitors to Debenhams’ site using smartphones usually just browsed products, whereas desktop users were more likely to purchase an item directly from their device.
Although he did note that conversion rates from mobile devices were increasing significantly, primarily due to the increase in iPad usage.
The traffic update comes as Debenhams announced that is has now implemented in-store Wi-Fi across all of its 167 UK stores as part of a tie-up with O2 Wi-Fi.
Debenhams’ customers will now be able to use their smartphones and tablets to connect to free Wi-Fi access whenever they are in store.
Users have to register once and are then automatically logged on to the network any time they enter one of the retailer’s 167 stores.
Debenhams’ intention is to provide customers with extra information on products in-store such as special deals, availability of clothing lines and allowing customers to scan items’ barcodes and letting them order for home delivery.
In a release announcing the roll-out, Debenhams heralded the move as “the end of online versus in-store shopping by bringing the two together”.
In anticipation of a fundamental shift in how consumers are accessing the store as well as purchasing habits, the retailer is also providing content on its site such as users reviews.
“Having content like that about products [on both its mobile and desktop sites] can lead to an increase in sales by up to two-or-three times,” added Forster.
In a panel session at last month’s IAB Mobile Engage, M&S mobile business development manager Rosie Srao, told attendees how it had launched a similar initiative in some of its high street stores to facilitate usage of QR codes on display items in-store (nma.co.uk 17 May 2012).