How Ready Is Your Mobile Channel for the 2018 Holiday Shopping Season?

By Rafael Lourenco, EVP, ClearSale.

Now’s the time to make sure your store’s mobile experience and checkout are ready for the holidays. Shopify reports that more than half of all Thanksgiving 2017 e-commerce orders came from mobile devices, but cart abandonment is still higher on mobile than desktop. And CNP fraud attempts tend to increase during the holidays. How can you make your mobile site welcoming to holiday shoppers, but not fraudsters? Three key areas to focus on now are how quickly your store’s pages load, how convenient your mobile checkout process is, and how well your fraud program can handle holiday sales peaks.

Speed up your store’s page load times

In today’s m-commerce environment, simply having a responsive website is no longer enough. Mobile users expect the sites they visit to load almost immediately and they’re quick to abandon sites that don’t. Think with Google found that 40% of shoppers will leave a site that takes more than three seconds to load on their phones and nearly 80% won’t shop again with a store that provides a poor mobile experience. And that’s on a typical day.

On a peak sales day, like Black Friday, even major retailers face site slowdowns or even crashes due to heavy traffic. So now is the time to review your site’s performance, load times, and capacity to not only keep visitors from leaving before your pages load, but also to prevent crashes from sending customers to your competitors. To do this, you’ll need to talk with your IT team and your hosting service about how you can speed up your site and stay online even when a crowd of customers is visiting your store.

To get a quick snapshot of your store’s mobile page speed, Think with Google offers a Speed Scorecard and Impact Calculator. You can use the scorecard to compare your site speed to your competitors and you can see how small improvements in speed can yield more sales.

Reduce mobile cart abandonment

More people turn to their phones when it’s time to buy than ever before, which is why m-commerce is projected to have a CAGR of 24% between now and 2023. Despite this trend, the cart abandonment rate hovers around 75%, in part because many consumers give up when it’s time to check out. Review your shopping and checkout processes now to ensure they’re as friction-free as possible for mobile users.

Mobile shoppers tend to shy away from data entry on small screens whenever possible, and many are accustomed to 1-Click checkout on Amazon, which requires no data entry at all. To keep these shoppers from leaving your site and making their purchases from a competitor with a more convenient checkout process, eliminate customer registration requirements and focus on the must-have data—billing, shipping, and payment information.

Avoid holiday fraudsters and fraud-related bottlenecks

Retail e-commerce fraud is still rising, according to the 2018 LexisNexis True Cost of Fraud report, and the cost of fraud is higher for digital and physical goods sold through the mobile channel than for other retail channels. The report found that each dollar of m-commerce fraud costs digital-goods merchants $3.29 on average, compared to $2.78 per dollar of fraud for physical goods and $2.54 for retailers without a mobile channel.

Meanwhile, false declines ranged from 18% to 28% of orders, with digital goods retailers at the higher end of the range. These rejections of good orders are costly over the long-term, because many falsely declined customers won’t return. These facts are concerning year-round, but holiday sales peaks can make false declines increase if merchants don’t have enough capacity to manually review flagged orders. Overwhelmed retailers may be forced to choose between slower order screening, more completed fraud, or more false positives.

Take a look at your historical fraud rates by channel, including peak-season rates, to see how often your mobile channel has been targeted compared to your other channels. It’s also wise to review your false decline rates to see if they’ve spiked during past holiday seasons. If your mobile channel has been heavily targeted by fraudsters or has had more false declines or completed fraud during previous sales peaks, it’s time to upgrade your fraud prevention program and consider outsourcing your manual fraud review. Having outside experts take on this task during sales peaks can keep order decisions on pace while preventing fraud and reducing false declines.

By making your store easy to use on mobile devices, keeping your checkout process simple, and bolstering your peak-season fraud protection program, you can engage the growing number of consumers who prefer to shop on mobile, during the holidays and beyond. You’ll also be in a better position to fight fraud and keep your good customers year-round.


Rafael Lourenco is Executive Vice President at ClearSale, a Card-Not-Present fraud prevention operation that protects e-commerce merchants against chargebacks. The company’s flagship product, Total Guaranteed Protection, is an end-to-end outsourced fraud detection solution for online retailers. Follow on twitter at @ClearSaleUS or visit