Shopping has always been a competitive game. The earliest marketplaces had their criers, while today the world’s largest market, the internet, can still be seen to employ similar tactics, coercing would-be buyers with advertising.

But while the melting pool of offers, discounts and retailers may sound like a modern day bazaar, today’s consumer has evolved. Brands shouting at the tops of their voices as shoppers aimlessly wandering the cyber streets will no longer work because people are browsing with intent. 

Today, mobile phones, tablets and desktops both at work and home are equipping shoppers with the ability to browse and buy from anywhere. In fact, measurement of purchases involving two or more devices suggest that buyer journeys are up to 41% longer than previous models indicate (Criteo). That’s a lot of browsing that brands don’t know about! 

Today, marketing personalisation starts with understanding cross-device behaviour – allowing marketers to use multiple signals to understand consumers’ buying processes and applying this knowledge to enhance their overall experience. 

After all, you wouldn’t plan a trip with nearly half the map missing. You’d want the full picture, to understand where you’re coming from, as well as where you’re going in order to devise the most effective route. This is the modern marketer’s dilemma.

Without an accurate cross-device measurement, e-commerce advertisers are simply operating with blinkers on, undervaluing and then underinvesting in the right users. 
In the UK, a user-centric view through cross device measurement shows that conversion rates are 1.4x higher than those seen through a device-centric approach. 

The origin of sales

Perhaps marketers think that they understand this journey and that the path to purchase is a clear and unwavering line. Not so. Forget the conventional wisdom “browse on smartphone, buy on desktop.” Consumers now reach for their smartphones for both searching and purchasing. At 52%, our research shows the UK has the highest global share of retail ecommerce transactions taking place on mobile.

What’s more, 30% of all cross-device transactions completed on a desktop started on a smartphone, and 24% of those completed on a smartphone started on a desktop. 

Regardless of purchase device, nearly two in five cross-device transactions start with a smartphone. A synchronised experience across desktop and mobile has never been so important.

In fact, shoppers are now able to find the products they’re looking for faster than ever before. On smartphones, add-to-basket and conversion rates increased 19% and 9% YoY, respectively in Q4 2016. Streamlining the path from product selection to transaction completion (think one-click ordering and smart autofill) is converting even more shoppers into buyers.

The full picture

Cross-device measurement enables retailers to accurately identify where bottlenecks lie and optimise consumer experience and marketing spend accordingly.

OFFICE’s head of online marketing, Victoria Dempsey best explains the impact of accurately mapping the entire customer journey; “Today, our customers don’t just exist on one device and they expect to receive the same exceptional experience whether they’re shopping on a mobile, desktop or tablet. Understanding this multi-device journey is essential for us when it comes to ensuring that we’re engaging with the customer wherever they. An effective cross-device strategy pinpoints the advertising mix that delivers the best possible experience for the consumer, and drives performance from our ad spend.”

For too long, marketers have been operating in the dark. Today it’s possible to know what’s really going on, enabling brands to prioritise user experience and resource allocation. 
When every penny counts, digital spend must be leveraged as accurately as possible. 

The common identifier that enables cross-device tracking is also the link necessary to merge online and offline customer data – the next frontier for retailers. One thing’s for sure, the right cross-device technology, one that provides marketers with proven reach, scale, accuracy and match rate, will provide a transparent view of the entire chain of customer interaction enabling marketers not only to use their resource in the best way, but also to ensure each customer gets the personalised service they demand.