Kerry Song is a writer and producer with a background in economics and finance. Her passion is to create meaningful content that engages and empowers the audience to become more mindful and more compassionate with themselves and with others.
Why mobile matters
Mobile commerce will be a decisive factor in your business success
Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the past 5 years, it’s not exactly news that there has been a surge in the adoption of smartphones and tablets. It seems everywhere you look these days, a mobile device is attached to someone’s hand. I’m fairly certain my 2-year-old nephew knows how to swipe right.
But what you may not be so aware of is how the shift to mobile devices is impacting e-commerce.
Just this past holiday season, mobile devices drove nearly one-third of all online sales. And on Christmas day alone, mobile traffic skyrocketed, where 62% of online retail traffic was driven by smartphones and tablets. My point? Mobile commerce isn’t slowing down. And as mobile devices are becoming an increasingly important and intimate part in consumers’ lives, retailers better make sure their mobile game is on lockdown.
CUSTOMERS ARE AHEAD OF RETAILERS
Consumers know what they want from their mobile shopping experience, demanding seamless experiences across multiple channels, as well as more efficient order and fulfillment options. But for the most part, their expectations are not being met.
Many retailers are failing to provide a mobile-friendly shopping experience — serving up non-optimized, unresponsive online stores to mobile users. And in this mobile era, that has some big implications. It doesn’t just mean retailers won’t be capitalizing on every opportunity with consumers. It means that if they don’t make some fundamental changes to achieve customer satisfaction, they are going to have a tough time driving business growth and profitability in the future — especially since reports estimate that by 2020, mobile commerce will make up 45% of total e-commerce, equaling $284 billion in sales.
So what changes need to be made? What should business owners be focusing on to make a better, more intuitive experience on smartphones and tablets?
Here are 4 key ways to give your customers a seamless experience and improve your bottom-line results:
1. BEST PRACTICES
First things first: Mobile shoppers are all about convenience and clarity. That means your design must be on-point. A consumer does not want to have to wait 10 minutes for an image to download, or have to scroll endlessly to read a sentence. Zooming in to be able to read a description or click a link are potential deal-breakers, too.
These are the fundamentals of a user-friendly experience, and should be considered a “must” for your business:
- Clear, focused content
- Simple menus and navigation tools
- Fluid layouts
- Mobile-centric features such as “tap to open” buttons or “slide to see next photo” options
- Optimized page load times
- Differentiation between smartphones and tablets
- Search functionality
- Facilitated purchases
2. MOBILE CHECKOUT
Have you ever entered your credit card information to make a purchase on your mobile device, then an error occurred? It doesn’t exactly feel comforting giving your financial information out again. Odds are you threw in the towel and went on your way.
Shoddy credit card form fields are just another reason why conversion rates in m-commerce are such a challenge. People want to feel secure when making a payment, and they want the entire process to be seamless. If they have a bad checkout experience once, they will remember it.
So ask yourself: Is it complicated for your mobile customers to use the payment methods you offer on their mobile device? How responsive are your checkout forms?
Mobile consumers don’t want to have to go through the tedious steps of typing in a 16-digit card number or multiple addresses on a small screen. They will also want two or three different payment options. And when they do make a purchase, it must be as quick and straightforward as possible.
So whether you use PayPal One Touch, Google Wallet, Visa Checkout, MasterPass or Apple Pay, a quick and easy checkout must be a priority when it comes to your mobile commerce platform.
3. IT’S NOT ABOUT THE APP
Mobile apps are all the rage these days. There’s an app for just about anything you could ever dream of. But when comScore released its Mobile App Report this fall, the most surprising takeaway was that consumers spend the majority of their mobile time with a very few heavily used apps.
And this makes a lot of sense. Only the retailers with the widest reach, like Target and Amazon, are able to get enough regular usage on their mobile apps to outpace their traffic and purchases on the Web. Consumers’ choices are tied to frequency and loyalty — they simply aren’t going to download 10 different retail apps. Instead, they’re just going to use the browser to find information from retailers they’re more casually invested in.
So do not assume that what works for these larger retailers should be considered an industry standard. That is not good mobile strategy. Instead, spend your time focusing on how Google searches, email newsletters and social media promotions can funnel more consumers to your website. It’s a more holistic approach, and it’s exactly what your customers want.
4. THE MILLENNIAL FACTOR
The Millennials have a strong connection with the digital world — they’re digital natives who were raised on social media and e-commerce. And they are spending an above average amount of time on their mobile devices, using smartphones and tablets for everything from online banking to grocery shopping.
But just how much are Millennials driving the mobile commerce growth? It’s estimated that the 86 million Millennials in the U.S. account for $1.3 trillion of consumer spending. That’s more than 20% of the nation’s total — and that number will only climb higher as they make more and spend more.
In order to keep up, business owners will need to adopt the mobile mentality and think and act like a Millennial. Yes, Millennials are the most willing generation to try new trends. But with their distinct ability to adapt to technology comes their expectations that retailers do the same.
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