There are very few technologies that have impacted commerce as deeply as mobile. In fact, the adoption rate of mobile is twice that of the Internet, three times the rate of social media, and 10 times the rate of PCs.
In 2011, mobile commerce made up only 11.6 percent of the total $303 billion in U.S. e-commerce business. However, this percentage is forecasted to reach 45 percent by 2020. Trends clearly illustrate that mobile commerce is at the forefront of some amazing growth, so how can companies more effectively win over more mobile shoppers in the coming year?
Many customers rely on mobile to shop, but not all customers are having a great experience. Identify the trouble spots, deploy strategies to fix those areas, and serve up experiences that delight customers – and you will create unshakable customer loyalty. But where should you start? Here are some common problem areas to target.
Payment: Create Trust and Simplicity
One of the top reasons that mobile shoppers abandon their carts is concern over payment security. In fact, a survey conducted by eConsultancy discovered that 58 percent of respondents left the checkout page due to concerns about security.
As a customer, when you shop major retailers such as Amazon.com, you already have a relationship established, and your payment details are safely stored online. When shopping with a new retailer, however, you may wonder if your payment is truly safe.
As a retailer, you will capture more shoppers and sales by handling this objection upfront. Start by offering a variety of payment options, including some that are alternative forms of payment, such as PayPal, ApplePay, or Google Wallet.
Forty-three percent of commerce companies already offer these payment alternatives. Using them allows customers to complete the transaction on your site, but payment details are handled through the customer’s favorite alternative payment provider, which offers the shopper additional peace of mind. Here are a few tips to simplify the mobile shopping experience and capture more sales:
- Don’t require account sign-up. Mobile users complete transactions on the go. They are waiting for coffee, riding the train to work, or waiting at the airport. They don’t always have time to create an account. So let users decide whether they want to create an account or “check out as a guest.” Check out this example from Apple, which provides customers with both options:
- Require the fewest steps possible to check out. Look at your existing form. Does it include anything that is unnecessary or that could be streamlined? When it comes to checkout, the fewer steps, the better. Sometimes this involves deleting steps entirely or consolidating steps to provide fewer screens overall. Carefully securitize everything that you require, and ask, “Do we truly need to ask customers for this information?”
- Anticipate customers’ questions. What types of questions does the customer service team commonly receive about the mobile ordering process? Capture this data. Then use it to create a more seamless and intuitive experience for customers.
- Make payment errors easy to fix. Did the user forget to enter something or miss a few digits? If so, make correcting those errors fast and easy. Eliminate potential frustration by ensuring that the customer does not need to re-enter data.
- Ask for only essential information. Customers already feel uneasy about providing payment information to a new retailer. In fact, 11 percent of U.S. adults abandon an online purchase because the site requests too much information, so ask for only the bare minimum.
Key takeaway: Mobile customers move at a much faster pace than desktop users. As a result, commerce companies must continually work to match the rapidly changing needs of these customers. They must continually ask, “How can we simplify the shopping process for the customer?” and “How can we require less from people to complete their transactions?” Asking these questions often enough will help remove potential roadblocks between you and the sale.
Create a Seamless Design
First, it’s important to understand which pages mobile visitors use the most (more on this in a minute). Don’t rely on assumptions, because understanding which pages they use most is one of the most powerful ways to improve the customer experience and capture more sales.
Once you collect this data, apply the insights directly to the navigation menu. For example, if users visit pages X, Y and Z most frequently, those pages should be the easiest to locate from the home page. Here are a few tips for prioritizing navigation:
- Identify exactly which pages mobile viewers use the most.
- Group these pages by commonalities. If you sell cloud services, for instance, group the most commonly viewed pages related to the cloud in a single category.
- Place the categories (which are driven by the most commonly visited pages) on your mobile navigation menu.
As with any strategy, you’ll want to revisit navigation frequently. The pages that are most popular today may change 12 months from now, and if they do, navigation should be adjusted as well.
When you make a change, measure the results. Are visitors staying on the site longer, and are more of these visitors converting to sales? Understanding this information will assist with driving greater success. Here are a few more tips:
- Delete large graphics and photos to cut back on the time it takes for mobile pages to load.
- Increase the size of call-to-action buttons so they are easier to tap.
- Evaluate existing text. All text should be as concise as possible.
Key takeaway: Provide a great mobile commerce experience with strategies that are fluid. The needs of mobile users change fast, so when you implement a change, measure it. Then continue to track progress and be willing to quickly adapt if those changes shift in the future.
Focus on Speed and Performance
Mobile users expect a fast online experience. Check out these statistics:
- Forty-seven percent of consumers expect a web page to load in two seconds or faster.
- Pages that don’t load fast enough are abandoned. In fact, 40 percent of people abandon a website that takes more than three seconds to load.
- A one-second delay in page-loading time results in a 7 percent reduction in conversions.
These statistics highlight why the mobile commerce experience needs to be fast. But also consider this: 70 percent of mobile searches lead to action within a single hour. So if pages don’t load quickly enough, the impact on revenue could be significant.
For example, if your e-commerce site earns an average of $50,000 each day, but a technical issue results in pages that load one second slower, your company could lose over $1.2 million each year – all because of a one-second delay in loading time. So what can you do to speed up performance?
Part of the answer is design. For example, removing clunky graphics that take too long to load is a good start. But often the problem is the actual technology that delivers the mobile experience. Test your site and set a timer. How long are pages taking to load? If there’s a problem, dive into the potential causes to get it resolved quickly.
Key takeaway: The key to capturing and converting more mobile customers is speed. Pages must load fast. What strategies can you use to help pages load more quickly? Generate and deploy these strategies to maximize results in 2017.
Leverage Location-Based Services
Location-based services help shoppers use mobile devices as they shop at brick-and-mortar retailers. This typically works by delivering targeted data to the user’s mobile device when the device travels into a location with an enabled app.
Apple introduced “iBeacons” to its retail locations in recent years. When customers enter the store, they are greeted via their mobile device. The mobile devices then show visitors relevant product information and related promotions as they walk through the store. Visitors even have the ability to pay without getting into a traditional line.
Macy’s recently tried this mobile technology as well. This video shows how it works:
As the customer enters the store, the beacon technology reminds her to open the appropriate mobile application. As she moves through the store, it provides information about specific offers and deals based on the customer’s movements. The device also helps track any products the customer likes and may want to purchase in the future.
Key takeaway: One major advantage of mobile commerce is that companies can finally understand customers in context. Timing is everything, especially when customers are busy and using mobile devices. Location-based technology helps commerce companies get the timing right.
Understand Mobile Customers Better Through Analytics
Mobile analytics is the key to truly understanding your customers, providing insight into such customer behavior as total visits, usage, location, types of devices being used, and any errors that are interrupting the mobile experience. But using analytics starts with asking the right questions. Here are a few suggestions:
- What trends are evident in this segment of mobile commerce customers?
- What pages and features do mobile customers engage with the most?
- What are customers doing (or not doing) through mobile?
- What actions would you like customers to take through mobile? And how can you change the experience to influence those behaviors?
- Are there ways that you can provide more personalized messages or experiences?
- What role could geolocation play in creating better and more engaging mobile commerce experiences?
Once you start asking these questions, you can truly understand existing customer behavior and tailor the mobile experience to better fit customer demands and needs.
Key takeaway: Commerce companies have no shortage of data. But mobile analytics is about taking that data and turning it into actionable insights to elevate the customer experience.
Deliver More Relevant Search Results
When customers arrive at your site through mobile, they are likely searching for something specific. Search plays a critical role in converting these customers into buyers. If they come up empty-handed after searching, revenue takes a hit.
Examine your existing platform and look for errors in search capabilities. What happens when you search for a specific product by name and product number? Does it come up? What happens if you use a different name, such as “blow dryer” instead of “hair dryer”? Or, equally important, what happens when you misspell the product? Can customers still find what they want, or do they hit a dead end?
Key takeaway: Mobile search must be just as good, if not better, than searching on a desktop. With the growth of mobile commerce, increasing numbers of customers are doing searches through mobile. Seek out potential flaws, and develop strategies to fix them.
At the end of the day, it’s all about the customer. How can you provide a mobile commerce experience that won’t disappoint the customer and won’t just make them happy, but will truly delight them? Identify critical weak spots, such as the ones listed above, and create strategies to proactively resolve any issues.
Bounce rates will decrease, more shoppers will convert and your number of repeat customers will increase. It all starts with faster, more authentic and more engaging mobile commerce experiences.
To learn more about creating a seamless mobile experience, download our e-book Site Search and the Mobile Experience.