M-commerce could be your greatest growth opportunity, what are you doing to meet the needs of online shoppers?

* 5 min read

E-commerce spending was already on the rise before 2020 but across the globe the pandemic has compressed 10 years-worth of growth into an unprecedented 2 year peak. E-commerce was a lock-down phenomenon, allowing people to stay safe but still receive goods direct to the door, and sales rocketed as a result.


Even if some consumers return to pre-pandemic shopping habits, there remain many more opportunities for brands and retailers to reach consumers through digital channels now than before 2020.

British consumers spent a total £113 billion online throughout 2020, a rise of 48% on the year before. Online sales in the food and drink category experienced the highest rise of all, up a massive 82% year-on-year, while the household goods category saw a 76% spike. Online share of spending on household goods grew from 17% in Q1 2020 to 42% in Q2 2020 alone.
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The dominant platform for online sales is mobile which continues to grow strongly. For example, Kingfisher group has reported that e-commerce sales rose 158% year-on-year in 2020 to £2.3 billion, with mobile accounting for 56% of online orders across all Kingfisher brands – more than a 200% increase year-on-year.

M-commerce will reach $284 billion, or 45% of the total U.S. e-commerce market, by the end of 2020.
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Mobile is attractive to consumers on many levels, it has become a ubiquitous device that organises, informs, facilitates and entertains and not many of us can imagine life without it. The ability to browse, compare, select, purchase, pay and review online brings a whole new level of convenience to the shopping experience but this shopping journey isn’t linear and it’s very complex. By the time the consumer is on your website and in the frame of mind to actually purchase, your digital offering needs to be absolutely on-point.

Humans use sight as a primary search method. We scan horizontally for familiar patterns, colours, shapes etc to act as cues to trigger recognition. We don’t stop to read and we dismiss visual clutter automatically. Brands know this and good design cuts through visual noise but on mobile the rules are different. Consumers are scanning a tiny hand-held screen and scrolling vertically so your branding needs to be instantly recognisable and distinct to avoid it being passed over and dismissed.

Cambridge University worked with Unilever to design guidelines to assist in the creation of consistent, clear ‘hero’ images for use in mobile e-commerce to avoid consumer confusion, to enhance the shopping experience and drives online sales.


The hero image is a much simpler, clearer shot of the product which focuses on communicating the key product details such as brand, format, variant and size to the consumers who may be scanning quickly on a small screen. Research has shown this visual first design approach results in a more coherent e-commerce design, happier consumers and up to double digit sales uplift. Simplicity and clarity are ever more important as retailers strive to be more inclusive, considering the needs of minority groups, the growing elderly population and the visually impaired.


It’s no longer good enough to just have an online presence if it doesn’t work seamlessly with your instore offering.
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The consumer doesn’t differentiate between the two and expects the experience to reflect the brand value proposition. Some brands are nailing it but many more, including many retailers are falling short. Whilst many are investing in omnichannel logistics and supply solutions to meet demand, they are neglecting the actual consumer touchpoints which need investment too.

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About the author

imageedit 1 6168940299Kevin McAulay - Account Director

Kevin has over 20 years experience in managing print and graphics for multiple global FMCG and retail companies. Kevin has experience working onsite at a number of clients sites including Nestle and Unilever and managing remote teams, with a great understanding of stakeholder engagement across multi disciplines.

What’s your experience? Join the conversation on LinkedIn.