Over time, retailers have successfully made the transition from sole brick-and-mortar selling to multi-channel merchandising featuring e-commerce as a major channel. Today, tackling mobile commerce has displaced e-commerce as merchants’ toughest challenge; shoppers are more impatient than ever.
According to recent reports, average consumer page views per retail site visit are down to 6.6, compared to 8.3 pages last March. In fact, the average time spent on these sites is also at an all-time low, a phenomenon likely caused by the increasingly competitive mobile commerce market. In order to adapt to this instant-gratification craving audience, e-retailers must adjust their mobile strategies to establish a competitive advantage. By adopting several simple strategies, companies can better position themselves to seize those coveted smartphone and tablet-shoppers.
The saying “a picture’s worth 1,000 words” has never been more applicable in e-commerce than now; when users skim the Web on their ultrabooks, tablets and smartphones, a certain aesthetic presentation is expected.
However, using large images on the mobile site can slow page loading, so make sure you aren’t layering too much data into your pictures. Keep files small and resolution high. Clean product visuals are even more necessary to keep and convert mobile buyers on your site. And though images might catch a consumer’s eye first, what they are actually looking for is likely in the copy. When users scan mobile screens, elaborate fonts and obscured buttons complicate the process. Using unadorned sans-serif font allows users to scan pages quickly, often without having to resize in order to find the information they’re looking for.
This highlights another new demand of digital shoppers: if they have to hunt for the details or products on your site, they’ll go elsewhere for a speedier experience. According to a survey conducted by Google, 78 percent of users want to be able to find what they’re looking for on a mobile site in one to two clicks. To meet this standard, get into the user’s mind and outline a specific architecture for your mobile site: ask yourself why customers are visiting the site and where they might want to go.
Making important or popular site features easily accessible on the homepage will ease the mobile browsing experience. Your landing page should have all of the information customers look for first. Offering too many subcategories and additional tabs clog the page, but the navigation buttons you do include must be readable and easy to click.
Information like store location and hours, social media accounts and sales should be clear on the homepage. Remember that smartphones and tablets, with their limited screen sizes, can only display so much information effectively, so less is still more.
If users want to search for something more specific, such as a product or service, finding what they need shouldn’t be a struggle. Design a high-functioning, concise search tool and make your mobile search function as advanced as your websites’, complete with auto-fill, filters and categories.
Attracting users to your mobile site is a portion of the battle, but the end goal is building an experience that pushes consumers to the final step: checking out. Purchasing should be painless; contain abandoned cart syndrome by updating your checkout process with shopper-friendly features. For example, make shopping carts easily accessible and develop checkout forms with short fields that require minimal scrolling.
Though consumers may have time to register full information using lap or desktops, it is cumbersome for mobile users to create a full account on-the-go. Allow them to register as guests and offer progress indicators so consumers know where they are in the buying process. Implement specific conversion tools such as cookies, Google or other alternative account sign-in options, and PayPal to unify and further streamline the process.
Finally, customers need a reason to visit your site over competitors’. Mobile-exclusive promotions are the perfect way to draw audiences to your page without fail. Make sure to broadcast these specials through channels you know mobile users engage regularly, namely email and social media.
Today’s new mobile commerce platform offers its share of challenges for online retailers, but with renewed and updated strategies to cater to finicky audiences, merchants can retain satisfied customers and develop lasting relationships with new ones.
About the Author: Diane Buzzeo is the founder and CEO of Ability Commerce. After spending two decades in retail and retail marketing, Buzzeo saw the need to create a company dedicated to creating software solutions for ecommerce retailers and founded Ability Commerce in 1999. Ability Commerce is a leading provider of ecommerce software, offering customizable, turn-key solutions for online retailers including website infrastructure, CMS, customer analytics and multichannel integration.