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October 23, 2017 Shownotes:

Are you a mobile shopper or a desktop shopper? When we posed this seemingly simple question to shoppers, we got some pretty complex answers. In this episode of The 19, we interview everyday people to uncover the truth behind one of the biggest “feuds” in the world of ecommerce.



The 19: Retail

Clicks vs. Bricks Pt. 2: Whose Site are You On?

Recorded Intro: This is The 19. In 19 minutes or less, game changing insights in retail from Orange label, the leading response marketing agency for established brands that are driven by a fearless entrepreneurial mindset.

Gina: Hey it’s Gina again, coming at you with the second segment of our Clicks versus Bricks series. This time we’re talking about one of the biggest feuds in the history of online shopping, but arguably one of the bigger points of controversy for digital marketers and for reference I’m putting “feuds” in air quotes, you’ll find out why later. When it comes to online shopping do people prefer mobile or desktop? We took it to the streets to discuss this topic with some online shoppers.

Gina: Before we get into it I’m going to share a quick anecdote. If you follow the Orange Label blog, you’re already aware that I personally prefer shopping on a desktop computer. Yes, I actually own a desktop, not a laptop, not a tablet, a desktop. And I love my desktop. So when I read a 2016 ComScore report highlighting the steady decline in desktop usage over the past four years, my heart sank a little. Sure, mobile shopping is convenient, but it can also mean slower load times, clunky UX and don’t even get me started on the tiny screens. OK, so maybe I’m biased but I can’t be the only person in the world who prefers shopping on my desktop to shopping on mobile, right? You may have just sensed a little apprehension in my voice and that’s because everywhere you look, there seems to be a new article on the overwhelming popularity of mobile shopping. In fact, Goldman Sachs estimates worldwide consumer spending via mobile will jump to 626 billion dollars in 2018. So, should we desktop users just throw our hands up and call this one in favor of mobile? Before you read the verdict, let’s hear what the people have to say about it. Quick note, when we refer to desktops we are also including laptops in this category. Also, these interviews took place in a variety of locations which may affect sound quality. To paint a fuller picture we interviewed a diverse group of people that included, a mom in her 30s, an intern in his early 20s, an art student in his early 30s, a musician in his 40s, and a young professional in her mid 20s. We started through etiquette to the wind and started things off with a pretty personal question, what’s the last thing you purchased online?

Interview 1: Probably diapers, honestly.

Interview 2: I ordered a glass baking dish off to make brownies.

Gina: Whether you’re in need of a baking tent for some spur of the moment brownies or diapers for your child online shops are always open when you need them. 24 hours seven days a week. And what else do we carry 24 hours seven days a week? Our phones. I mean, take a look around and count the first five items in front of you. Chances are your phone is right up there with your car keys and your wallet. But how big a role does mobile actually play in online shopping?

Interview 1: I shop more often on my phone because I’m on the go more or even if I’m just sitting on a couch like I’m just sitting there and I don’t want to get up because I’m lazy, it’s more convenient.

Interview 3: I can do without mobile because I don’t use it that much shopping but just like I said in those rare instances I want to be able to just have easy access.

Interview 4: Only for say getting food or something delivered or things like that.

Interview 5: I don’t make online purchases on my phone, ever. I don’t know why I just feel like I can’t fully know what I’m actually buying, for some reason.

Gina: Mobile is like that friend who is always ready to hang out with you and watch a movie and they might even bring pizza. But the more people we interviewed, the more we realized there are definitely some hesitations when it comes to mobile shopping.

Interview 6: I don’t know. I still don’t trust things. Someone’s going to get my password.

Interview 2: I like purchasing things on my laptop versus my phone. It’s just easier for me and sometimes I feel weird putting in my credit card information on my phone.

Interview 3: For some reason I think phones are easier to break in or breakthrough than laptops. I don’t know, that might just be a false determination, but I don’t know. For some reason I just think that way and I can’t tell you why.

Gina: Something really interesting is happening here. When people are out and about or feeling lazy, mobile is their go to – for browsing. Now, there could be a number of reasons for this but security or lack thereof seems to be a major obstacle in the mobile buying cycle. It seems like when all is said and done and the checkout pages beckoning, these shoppers just can’t bring themselves to complete a major purchase on mobile

Interview 1: On mobile I do tend to browse more so I don’t always purchase as often or as if I’m on desktop I’m usually a little bit more focused on what I’m doing so I have a purpose in what I’m doing.

Gina: It’s true that there is something special about sitting at a desk and making a purchase. Desktop shopping requires intention. We sit down, we inspect, and we make the purchase. There’s a sort of ritual behind it that makes our online shopping insecurities disappear.

Interview 5: It’s like the formality of sitting in a chair and sitting up and being at a desk rather than laying on my couch or anything like that. I don’t online shop much at all. So, it’s – it’s an experience.

Interview 4: If I’m in a situation where I am going to be shopping I’ll be at home and it will be more comfortable just to sit at my desk, having a nice chair to sit in and a full-full desk of space to work with…full size keyboard type things.

Interview 2: It’s easier for me to-if I’m looking at something on my laptop because a lot of times I’ll research products and look at different websites or reviews so I can have multiple tabs open easily on my laptop, which is sometimes more difficult on my phone.

Gina: Comfort, ease of use, and security are all factors that go into the shopping experience and it’s clear that both separately and together mobile and desktop platforms play valuable roles in the buying cycle.

Interview 6: I think of them as two separate tools in your life. I feel that a desktop is your workstation and your phone is like you’re like utility belt or something, when you’re out and about and you need something your phone was there.

Interview 4: I think they can coexist. I don’t think uh-I know for years people were predicting the death of desktops when smartphones were coming around. I don’t think that’s the case. I think they can coexist.

Interview 1: I think it’s important to have both because again I think they both are still being used. You know most shoppers see the big money spent are people who are working desk jobs or at least a lot of them are. So, I think desktop still has a role in a place because some people are stuck at their desks for eight or nine hours a day and they’re looking for a distraction from their job and shopping’s a great one to do that, but I mean everything really happens on mobile. You know the ideas for me of when I want to buy something I usually get it for mobile first and then later when I make the decision I might buy it on desktop or I might buy it on my phone based on what I need to do.

Gina: I have to say I’m a little surprised. Here, I was thinking I was the only person in the universe who preferred shopping on my desktop. And lo and behold all six of the people we interviewed named desktop as their preferred method of online retail. And while security seems to be a trending hesitation on mobile, people couldn’t really answer why they were so afraid. In fact, many acknowledge that there was no logical reason to fear hacking on mobile more than desktop. But maybe this makes sense because shopping is more than a financial investment, it’s also personal. It can be an emotional experience and sometimes, well, a lot of the time emotion trumps logic.

Gina: This brings us to our sum-up or the one major takeaway you can take from this podcast episode. To get to the bottom of this debate maybe we need to approach it with an entirely new frame of mind. While you may see headlines predicting the decline of desktop and the rise of mobile the truth is neither of these platforms are going anywhere. They are both precious commodities that appeal to different people for different reasons. Computers drive conversions with their large screens, user-friendly design, and perceived security. Mobile wins the popularity contest because of its convenience and portability. While we’re wasting time pointing out flaws and picking sides, we could be figuring out a way to better bring the best of both worlds together. In the end it really isn’t that complicated. Retail 101 has always told us that customers come first and as you heard in our interviews shoppers are engaged throughout the buying cycle on both mobile and desktop platforms. Knowing this, effective response marketing must leverage both and strategically guide customers to purchase regardless of their preferred platform.

Gina: Thank you for listening to The 19: Clicks vs. Bricks Part 2: Desktop or Mobile? Whose side are you on? If you have additional thoughts on this topic, please share them with us. Visit our website and contact us, and be sure to tune in for the next episode of Clicks vs. Bricks covering pricing in-store and online.

Recorded Close:  This was The 19 brought to you by Orange Label. If you’re interested in more retail response marketing, visit our blog and subscribe to our content, where we share our response marketing expertise on current retail industry topics. Visit for all of the details.


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