Though mobile retail traffic is higher than its ever been, consumers are still making their biggest purchases on desktop. What advantages does this have for brick-and-mortar retailers?

When web traffic on mobile devices eclipsed that of desktop for the first time early last year, many in the business world began to focus most of their attention on mobile marketing and commerce. However, new statistics should remind retailers that, as important as mobile is, their biggest online sales are still coming from desktop.

The Q1 2015 E-Commerce report from Monetate shows that, on average, shoppers are still making bigger purchases from their desktops than from their smartphones. In fact, the mean order values for desktop platforms were an average of 43% higher than their mobile counterparts.

But what are the factors behind this trend, and how long will it last? Where should retailers be directing their attention when it comes to online traffic?

Why Desktop Still Matters

As smartphones get more advanced and tablets continue to grow in popularity; desktop still has a few advantages over its more portable counterpart. What’s probably the most important of them is the relative ease of doing research with a full keyboard and plenty of screen space.

When you’re setting out to make a serious purchase, like a new appliance, new furniture, or even a new smartphone, you want to have all the research tools you have available to you on-hand.

Though mobile screens are getting bigger, I think you’ll find that the vast majority of people would rather do research on a PC, both for the ease-of-use and for the mental space that comes with being at home rather than multitasking.

But as anyone will tell you, the fact that larger purchases tend to happen on desktop is by no means a reason to pay less attention to mobile.

For one thing, a higher quantity of smaller purchases can often end up leading to much higher sales — for another, retailers can increase their mobile revenue by enhancing their omnichannel experiences.

Closing the Mobile Gap

While customers are generally going to feel more comfortable making large purchases from their laptops than from their phones, the same principle applies to buying in-store: the bigger the price tag, the more willing shoppers are to make that trip to the mall.

By enhancing that in-store experience with all the ease and convenience offered by mobile tools, brick-and-mortar retailers can capitalize on the persisting reluctance of consumers to spend hundreds of dollars on something they can’t see for themselves.

For instance, the customers at a place like Home Depot are likely to make a point of visiting the physical location. After all, if you’re doing important renovations on your own, what’s the point in delaying the process further by waiting for a delivery?

That’s why it was crucially important that the retailer put its focus on omnichannel, making it easier for shoppers to identify and locate the items they need, especially given how big their locations tend to be.

While desktop vs. mobile may only be a question of marketing for online-only retailers, the companies that depend on their brick-and-mortar locations should seize this opportunity. Consumers are showing that, for the purchases that matter, they still want to know exactly what they’re getting before they give away their hard-earned cash.

By embracing omnichannel, the retailers selling those items could keep their foot traffic strong without ever losing touch with a mobile consumer base.