The rise of the smartphone has brought on a massive shift in how we go about our daily lives. Our traditional methods of communication, collaboration, and even commerce have been transformed thanks to a tiny device that fits in our pockets. It’s no secret that customers are buying more things on their smartphones. This year, mobile commerce retail sales are expected to reach $3.56 trillion, making up almost three-quarters of total eCommerce sales.
If you’re an eCommerce business, getting a piece of that growing pie should be a top priority. More and more online retailers are looking into developing or refining their mobile commerce experiences. And with the shifts in customer buying behavior brought on by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it’s more important than ever to ensure your mobile buying experience is fast, streamlined, and optimized for conversions.
In this post, we’ll define mobile commerce, explain its benefits, and give some tips on how you can optimize your existing mobile customer experience to promote engagement, increase conversion rates, and grow sales revenue. Read on to learn how you can revitalize your brand’s mobile commerce experience.
What is mobile commerce?
At its most basic level, mobile commerce refers to any transaction involving money that is completed using a mobile device, like a smartphone. Often thought of as a natural progression of eCommerce, mobile commerce encompasses more than just online shopping. It also includes mobile banking, electronic ticketing, contactless payments, and much more. For this post, however, we’ll focus on mobile shopping, or the extension of eCommerce into mobile applications, responsive websites, and other touchpoints geared towards smartphone users.
Mobile commerce is considered a category of eCommerce. While both practices facilitate the sale of goods and services via the internet, mobile commerce focuses exclusively on mobile device users. This means it tackles a whole host of challenges brought on by the unique demands of the smartphone. As such, eCommerce businesses need to tailor their approach to mobile users, or risk missing out on sales opportunities.
What are the advantages of mobile commerce?
Investing in mobile commerce solutions is top of mind for businesses these days. That’s because optimized commerce experiences for mobile benefit not just the customers who take advantage of them, but businesses themselves as well. Here are some of the main reasons mobile commerce is priority number one for many online retailers.
Omnichannel eCommerce refers to a completely integrated and complementary retail strategy that strives to provide consumers with a consistent experience across touchpoints. The primary goal of omnichannel eCommerce is to tear down the walls between individual sales channels and get your products in front of potential customers wherever they are already spending time.
These days, most of us spend more time on our mobile devices than we’d care to admit. Having a significant mobile commerce presence means you can meet your customers on their terms—and be prepared to sell exactly what they are looking for.
According to Aspect Software, businesses that adopt an omnichannel strategy achieve 91% greater year-over-year (YoY) customer retention rates when compared to businesses that use more traditional sales and marketing strategies. A tried-and-true mobile commerce strategy is fundamental to reaping the benefits of an omnichannel approach.
Improved customer experience
Back in the early days of the internet, eCommerce flipped the retail industry on its head. With just a click of the mouse, people were able to research, browse, and purchase products that were delivered right to their front door. Plus, customers got access to a wider variety of products, and could easily compare prices to find the best deals.
As eCommerce began to flourish, it appeared that the days of having to trek out to a busy store to deal with pushy sales associates to buy products were numbered. The growth of eCommerce led to a new retail experience—one that can be accessed right from your desktop computer.
As consumer smartphone use grew, it was a natural progression for commerce to expand into the mobile realm. Now, customers can get all the benefits of traditional eCommerce that they’ve come to know and love, while having the added convenience of being able to make purchases on something that fits in their pocket. Plus, features like augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and chatbots provide immersive, interactive customer experiences that were difficult to imagine in the early days of eCommerce.
More payment options
Perhaps one of the most impactful technological innovations in commerce is mobile wallets. Mobile wallets store card and payment information in a singular location on a mobile device. Services like Apple Pay and Google Pay allow customers to easily input and store their bank account or credit card information, then make purchases directly from their smartphones. These purchases can be made online, in-app, or in-person at contactless payment terminals.
The rise of digital wallets means more payment convenience for consumers. No longer do customers have to repeatedly enter credit card numbers and other payment information every time they want to make a purchase. Digital wallets now act as a central hub for all consumer commerce activity, making one-touch purchases possible.
Why should you focus on mobile commerce?
We live in a world where smartphones drive 70% of internet traffic. The steady increase in smartphone users, combined with shifting user habits, means that more people are using smartphones to complete tasks that were traditionally done on desktop computers. Shopping online is just one of many daily activities that have migrated to the smartphone. Purchasing items quickly from a device that’s also used to check email, communicate with friends and family, and so much more is a compelling proposition for most.
The mobile, pocket-friendly nature of the smartphone means users can shop at any time and any place. No longer are online shoppers chained to desks to browse and purchase items on a desktop or laptop. Purchases can be made while commuting, on vacation, stuck in traffic, or waiting in line at the bank.
In 2010, mobile purchases accounted for 10% of eCommerce sales. By 2016, that figure had increased to 31%. This surge in growth demonstrates customer willingness to embrace mobile commerce. The opportunity is there for eCommerce businesses to boost sales if they’re willing to optimize and improve their mobile commerce presence.
As tech writer Mark Dewolf puts it, “Consumers are visiting web stores in droves and browsing the virtual aisles. The question for retailers is: can you keep them there and convince them to shop?”
How to optimize your eCommerce presence for mobile sales
The importance of having a separate mobile footprint for your eCommerce store cannot be overstated. Mobile internet browsing and device navigation come with their own set of unique conditions that must be met to provide a solid customer experience. Depending on the size and scale of your eCommerce business, you should be offering your customers a native mobile app, a mobile responsive website, or—ideally—a combination of the two.
Native apps and responsive websites both offer commerce experiences tailored to mobile devices, but differ in key ways. For the purposes of this article, we’ll be focusing on optimizing a mobile responsive website for better conversion. Read on to learn key areas where you can improve your site to boost sales.
Implement responsive, user-friendly design
Truly responsive design means your mobile eCommerce site works well on devices and screens of all sizes, as well as on all mobile browsers. Your eCommerce site should prioritize mobile use, and implementing a responsive design is a major part of this. If your site instead prioritizes its desktop view and, as a result, the mobile experience suffers, perhaps it’s time to invest in a user experience (UX) redesign.
Responsive, user-friendly design ensures that the most important elements of mobile commerce are accessible and easy to find. It should incorporate intelligent navigation, clever visual cues, and an overall streamlined performance geared toward a small screen.
Improve page load times
Nobody likes a slow-loading website, especially smartphone users that have become used to the convenience of shopping on the go. Load times have a significant impact on conversion rate, and a slow-loading mobile commerce site can mean you miss out on sales you may have otherwise had in the bag. To improve page loading speeds, optimize your images for mobile, streamline your content, implement AMP protocols, and invest in load balancing solutions.
Refine your checkout process
Safety and security are major concerns during the checkout process, especially for mobile users. To ensure customers successfully complete the checkout process, it’s important to simplify and refine the entire checkout process. Limit the number of pages, offer guest checkout options, keep forms short, make your content concise, and make the call to action (CTA) buttons clearly visible.
In today’s world, the smartphone is ubiquitous. For most, it’s the default device we use to complete tasks and stay connected with the world. It has transformed how we communicate, get things done, and shop. It’s crucial for eCommerce retailers to prioritize their mobile experiences and meet customers where they are most comfortable.
As phone usage continues to increase, eCommerce businesses without a customer-focused mobile presence are becoming obsolete. At Codal, revitalize stagnating brands by modernizing their legacy technology and equipping them with the tools they need to excel in a digital landscape dominated by the smartphone.
Our data-driven design methods empower brand visibility and deliver the most elegant mobile commerce solutions possible. Want to learn more about Codal’s mobile commerce capabilities? Get in touch today.