According to research carried out by PayPal, which examined more than 17,000 consumers in 22 countries around the world, one-third of online shoppers uses mobile devices to make a purchase.
Mobile commerce, that is the management of commercial transactions via smartphones and tablets, has existed for at least fifteen years: in the late ’90s, Coca-Cola installed vending machines that accept payment via SMS text messages, and a few years later the possibility to pay train tickets directly from mobile phones was introduced in Austria.
However, it is only in recent years that purchases from mobile have seen an exponential growth: PayPal’s research reveals an annual growth rate of 42% in the period between 2013 and 2016.
Searching on mobile, conversion on desktop
Despite the growth of mobile, there is a fact that speaks volumes: the conversion rate on smartphones is 0.8% against 2.78% on desktops and users who clicked on “Add to cart” on mobile are less than half of those on PC.
It seems clear that, despite the fact that more consumers surf online to shop, this often does not lead to purchase. People use their smartphones to search for information about products, to compare prices, perhaps even get themselves intrigued by new products and promotions, but then they would rather complete the purchase on desktop.
When optimization is a stranger
There are different reasons why people are reluctant to purchase on mobile. According to Paypal’s research, 34% of people say the problem lies in the physicality of the device. The screen size is too small to allow an easy visualization and navigation of the purchase procedure. 18% of users blame it instead on the lack of site optimization, the content layout and difficulty in finding information.
Today, mobile commerce offers a great opportunity to all brands, because thanks to smartphones people can shop anytime, anywhere, multiplying purchasing opportunities. But this opportunity still too rarely results into business, because most of these e-commerce businesses are not yet ready to make the mobile purchase path easy, simple and fast.
M-commerce: undoubtedly fast, but without improvising
For anyone who has an e-commerce business, thinking mobile is a priority that should not be put off anymore: 204 million dollars were spent on these devices in 2014, while in 2018 transactions will be 626 million, three times as much. According to an article on Entrepreneur.com, if you aren’t building e-commerce businesses with mobile in mind, you may be irrelevant in three to five years. Before starting, however, it is important to analyze your objectives and targets, to observe the profiles and behaviors of consumers on mobile, which do not always coincide with those on other channels: the audience is generally young people. According to Paypal, 59% of shoppers on mobile between 18 and 34 years old use their phone to surf for about 3 hours a day (source: eMarketer) and they prefer in 63% of cases (source: Econsultancy) e-commerce businesses that have rich contents, which give detailed descriptions and product reviews. From this first general guideline, we can define the specific audience of the brand. You should always keep them in mind when designing and implementing all these improvements that make the shopping experience on your e-commerce business better and more evolved.
Here is a series of effective tricks to get you started:
#1 Enrich your content: although mobile experience is the emblem of immediacy, when it comes to choosing a product people love to have in-depth information. Therefore you should put detailed descriptions for each item, and you could even add videos illustrating the assembly instructions, functions or its use.
#2 Encourage reviews: Descriptions are important but opinions on your products spontaneously left by costumers are 12 times more (source: Econsultancy). To encourage them, put and highlight under each item a field where they can leave a review and make sure that the publishing procedure is as simple as possible, even on mobile.
#3 Choose explanatory photos: Given the small size of the screen, the pictures should tell what the product is about in a clear and attractive way and highlight its strengths. Make sure they are in good quality and easy to view.
#4 Use legible font sizes: To read the texts, whether they are titles, descriptions or buttons, users should not have to zoom in or move horizontally or vertically to see the whole page. Make sure all the important information are already shown on the opening page.
#5 Scrolling is better: Every link involves a waiting time to open a new page, which is not particularly appreciated on mobile. Structure your information as a single sequence that can be viewed through scrolling, so that users can smoothly pass from one content to another without interrupting their navigation.
#6 Customize your message: The e-commerce app is particularly useful to communicate to users instantly and in a personalized way: thanks to push notifications you can inform customers who have purchased one of your products when a similar or complementary product is on sale.
#7 Enable booking: Considering that many users search for products on mobile but then buy them on desktop, you should provide the opportunity to book an item, so that they can buy it at a later time.
#8 Add Social Medias: 28% of online activity is spent on social networks (source: Social Times) and there are 1.65 million active users on mobile (source: Wersocial). Make sure that they talk about your e-commerce business by adding social sharing buttons on each product and by promoting your best articles on your social medias.
#9 Make payments easy: Purchasing through apps offers consumers the convenience of not having to enter their data each time they make a payment. 26% of consumers consider it a significant advantage (source: Skrill). Ensure the possibility for costumers to use all major credit and debit cards and allow them to complete the purchase path in just a few clicks.
#10 Optimize your efforts: If you can’t apply most of these tips on your e-commerce business or the app currently in use, it may be appropriate to rethink it from scratch and to rely on skilled programmers or web designers. Alternatively, if you have limited time and budget, you can choose an online system to create apps and mobile sites on your own, like mob.is.it, without having graphics or programming skills, and they will be ready in a few minutes with its full features, also for e-commerce.
Experience is the key to commerce, even on mobile
It’s a fact: mobile commerce will continue to evolve and it is possible that these and other winning tricks today will be completely outdated in a few years. How to keep up with the times? By choosing a flexible e-commerce system and remaining faithful to your role: even in the mobile era a marketer’s task is to keep their eyes open and think about the consumers, what can truly satisfy their desires for comfort, immediacy, and simplicity in the purchase path. As stated by Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, “If you do build a really great experience, customers tell each other about that. Word of mouth is very powerful.” Do your costumers talk to each other about your e-commerce business? Make sure that the answer is yes.
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