In 2012, we witnessed the largest rise in mobile commerce thus far. For example, there was a 22% increase in the amount of time people spent on mobile websites. Mobile sales saw a 128% year-over-year gain on Black Friday sales, and total of $1.5 billion of mobile sales on Cyber Monday. And with the evolution of transaction apps like PayPal and Google Wallet, purchasing from a smart device is also becoming easier than ever. There’s no doubt about it: mobile commerce is on the rise.
Create a mobile version of your site
As mobile commerce catches up to mobile usage, your business will need to find a way to bridge the gap. Developing a mobile site is the perfect way to do that. Let’s explore what some brands are doing and how you should follow suit.
Auto-detect Mobile Browser
Make sure smartphones automatically receive the mobile version of your site. This can be done by utilizing a redirect to a mobile URL (m.BathandBodyWorks.com) or using a responsive CSS.
The easier it is to get around your site, the better. Bath & Body Works has navigation bars at both the top and bottom of their mobile page. So no matter how far down they scroll, users won’t have to look around much to find what they need. Make sure the clickable aspects of your design are large enough for easy use on a touch screen.
Add a prominent search bar if your company carries a lot of products. Bath & Body Works sure does, and this feature makes finding products significantly easier.
Sometimes users visit a mobile site to find a physical store location. Help bridge the gap by providing either an integrated app or any easy-to-spot link to your address.
User Sign In
If a consumer has an account with your company, allow them to sign in from your mobile site. Making the customer’s account information available on your mobile site enables easy transactions.
The addition of a shopping cart (or bag) is incredibly important to facilitating mobile purchases, and eCommerce shopping in general. If possible, implement a shopping cart that is persistent between visits, so customers can pick up where they left off after returning to your site. Be sure the shopping cart shares its contents between the mobile and full version of your site. In case users don’t checkout on the mobile site, their cart will be available on a desktop to checkout.
When you visit the Gap’s mobile site, promotions are the first thing you notice. Entice buyers by utilizing mobile-sized display ads for special offers. Feel free to include a mix of online and in-store promotions.
People use their mobile devices as a way to check in on every aspect of their lives, so it only makes sense to keep users’ order status/tracking available for monitoring. It’s also a great idea to keep track of the user’s order history for easy re-ordering.
While ease-of-use is important on any eCommerce site, the mobile shopping environment has to be even simpler. Customers shopping on their phones often have less time, and navigating is already more difficult on a small screen that it is on a full-fledged browser. Keep the following user experience tips in mind:
- Reduce the number of required fields
- When possible, add drop-down menus, checklists and pre-populated fields when a user needs to add data.
- Allow interchangeable billing and shipping addresses
- Accept fast payment options like PayPal or Google Wallet
- During checkout, provide nearby store locations in case of returns
Full Version of Site
Sometimes, users will simply prefer viewing the full version of your store. Make sure there’s a link to it somewhere on your page. Have a link to your full site on every mobile page. For a seamless transition, when clicked be sure it lands the user on the same page they were viewing – not the homepage.
In case users have questions or concerns, make it easy for them to get in touch with someone. Add a click to callÂť button with your business’ phone number, or add a contact form with as few fields as possible.
Additional ways to drive conversions
Enable Mobile-to-Store Action
If your site can automatically detect mobile users’ locations, all the better. Providing nearby store addresses right away can help convert visitors that don’t feel comfortable making purchases from their smartphones. As such, it’s a great addition to the normal store location search.
To save bandwidth and help your mobile site load faster, consider adding infinite scrolling. Instead of using multiple pages, automatically add content when a user reaches the bottom of the page. This will prevent …
Store Redeemable Coupons
While providing offline-only coupons may be counter-intuitive, it’s just another way to capture customers who prefer brick and mortar shopping. This way, you’re meeting the needs of both sides of your clientele.
Provide users with an easy-to-find link that will bookmark your store in their mobile browser. You can also add code to your mobile site to trigger a popup that prompts the user to “Add to Home Screen.”
It may be aggressive but it will help your user bookmark your site easier. Create a mobile friendly icon to go along with your bookmark instead of the standard screenshot. Â This can be annoying to some users, consider the option of it loading only on the first two or so visits to your mobile site or having a “hide this message” option. Â Bookmarking is a lot easier than downloading an app and access is easier for users to resume shopping at a later time.
Altogether, this advice is just the tip of the iceberg as far as mobile eCommerce goes. Review your business model and think about what other options your customers may want from your company while on the go. And, of course, don’t forget to promote your mobile site and track its results! Segment your ads to see where your mobile traffic is coming, and start planning your next steps in mobile eCommerce.
What is your favorite feature of your mobile site?Â Tweet us at @Ripen_eCommerce.