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The mobile phone is the key device throughout the multi-device purchase journey, reveals Monetate in its latest quarterly report [pdf]. Not only does it account for a higher share of initial and final touches than desktops, but it’s used as the intermediary touch in the majority of all cross-device purchases.

For its report, Monetate analyzed more than 2 billion global e-commerce sessions occurring during Q4 2017, paying special attention to the small fraction of those in which retailers recognized consumers across devices.

The analysis found that mobile phones were the “initial touch” device 40% of the time, just ahead of desktops (37%). That’s consistent with previous research indicating that smartphones are the primary device for launching shopping journeys.

Interestingly, though, multi-device shoppers don’t gravitate to desktops to complete their purchases. Mobile phones also have a slight edge as the “final touch” device in cross-device journeys, per Monetate’s report, with 42% of multi-device purchases being completed on mobile phones, versus 36% on desktops.

Where phones really shine, however, is in moving the process along: mobile phones were used as the intermediary touch (neither the first nor the last touch) some 58% of the time.

All told, mobile phones and desktops performed remarkably consistently in conversions. When each device was used as the first-touch in a multi-device shopping journey, they each ended up with purchases 54% of the time.

Cross-Device Users Are More Valuable

Why is it important to recognize cross-device users – something that retailers are struggling with? Because they’re more valuable!

Monetate notes that shoppers tracked across multiple devices in an e-commerce journey outperformed those who weren’t to a significant degree across various metrics. Those include:

  • Product view rate: 88% vs. 58%;
  • Purchase rate: 55% vs. 6%; and
  • Average order value: $130 vs. $115.

Beyond those advantages, Monetate argues that the “amount of relevant, intent-heavy data” provided by multi-device users is “a retailer’s dream.” That’s because shoppers tracked across multiple devices average 36 product views during 12 sessions, compared to five products during 2 sessions for those who aren’t tracked across devices. That amounts to 6 times more browsing data for cross-device users.

Finally, Monetate notes that tracking customers across devices “could also reveal crucial insights into customer behavior that might influence brands’ decisions about how to personalize experiences or adjust marketing approaches.”

It’s a convincing argument…

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