Today’s consumer has a mobile device on them at nearly all times. What once required a user to sit down at a computer can now be done in the palm of their hand wherever they happen to be. This level of instant gratification has changed the expectations consumers have for a shopping experience. For one, they are using mobile devices to do their shopping a lot more now. Mobile represents nearly one half of all eCommerce sales, and by 2025 it’s forecasted to make up over 10% of all total retail sales.
These increased sales coming from mobile carry with them the expectations that mobile users have. Successful mCommerce sites will load quickly so shoppers can purchase the goods they want with minimum distraction from whatever else they have going on. The site should be easy-to-navigate, display well on all devices, and provide minimal friction between the initial visit and the final checkout.
In this post, we’ll discuss how to make your website an mCommerce star.
6 Tips for Improving Your mCommerce Sales
The following tips will help ensure that your mCommerce site meets the demanding requirements of today’s mobile consumer. As a side benefit, many of these benefits will carry over to the desktop version of your site. One reason for that is because many of the expectations users develop for mobile carry over to other aspects of their life as well. Another big reason is that Google has realized the significance of mobile browsing and has switched their page rankings to a mobile-first approach.
1. Be Mobile Friendly
Making your site more mobile friendly will have the dual benefit of helping it to rise higher in Google’s organic search results and of ensuring that you don’t scare your mobile customer away with a design that does not fit their device well. At some point, we’ve all come across a site that just didn’t play as well with mobile form factors as it should. It’s never a fun experience, and you shouldn’t put your potential customers through it. Here are some important ways to make your site mobile friendly:
- Design a Responsive Website – At one point, it was okay to create a website with a very static design. Now that consumers are visiting sites on screens of all different sizes and all different resolutions, you need a responsive website. A responsive site will automatically adjust its layout to match the device it’s being displayed on. Most web platforms have responsive themes you can choose from.
- Use Mobile-Friendly Buttons and Menus – A mouse is a high-precision instrument; one that’s capable of hitting a button with pixel-perfect accuracy. Fingers, on the other hand, are much less precise. Although our motor skills may allow us to place our fingers wherever we want, the size of our fingers limits the precision with which we can use them. Making buttons large enough and spacing them out far enough that they can be easily manipulated with a user’s finger is important to proper mobile design.
- Test on Mobile – Until you’ve actually tried to browse your website on a mobile device, you can’t be sure that it performs optimally. Ideally, you’d try out the site on a variety of different mobile devices to get a feel for how it functions on screens of different aspect ratios and sizes.
- Optimize Site Speed – This is a big deal for mobile users. They are accessing your site while they are on the go and performing other tasks. In order to properly multi-task, they don’t have time to wait for your page to load. By reducing the size of your site, compressing any images that you use, and enabling any speed-boosting plugins available for your web platform, you’ll ensure a speedy load time. As a bonus, Google awards higher page ranking to pages that load faster.
- Eliminate Pop-Ups – Even the most useful of pop-ups annoy some desktop users. This, despite the fact that it’s relatively easy to close a pop-up on your desktop browser. Mobile browsers aren’t so lucky. Pop-ups are much harder to switch between, take longer to close, and are generally a nuisance no matter how useful they are. The mobile version of your site should find another way to handle any functionality you’re using pop-ups for.
- Create a Dedicated Mobile App – The best way to ensure that the best browsing experience for your store is to create a native app for the two major mobile operating systems. Big brands like Amazon have dedicated iOS and Android apps for this very reason. By taking advantage of native controls and layouts, you’re guaranteeing a trouble-free browsing session for your customers.
2. Remove Friction at Checkout
In keeping with the theme that mobile customers are looking for quick, instant-gratification style interactions with your website, you want to make sure that your checkout experience is as streamlined as possible.
There are several important differences between a mobile browser and one on a desktop. The most important is that mobile screen space is at a minimum. Therefore, your checkout page should avoid any clutter that may distract the user from their goal. Even worse than distracting the user, some clutter can get in the way and make it harder to navigate the checkout page. Avoid any images, superfluous text, or other unnecessary elements on your checkout page. It should be as bare bones a possible while still retaining your branding.
Another major difference between desktop and mobile browsers is ease of input. A user can quickly tab between fields and type information on a desktop computer. On mobile, typing is harder and the virtual keyboard opening and closing is another needless delay. While the user may need to enter in some information, you should keep the number of fields to fill out to a minimum. If possible, enable express checkout so the customer can purchase in as few clicks as possible.
3. Simplify Product Search
Another area where mobile browsing can slow shoppers down is searching for products. The limited screen space means fewer products are visible at a time, and navigation items are not as quickly accessed as they are on a desktop browser. This can make searching for products significantly more frustrating on mobile.
To keep mobile users happy, you should augment your search bar with other features that make searching for products more efficient. Consider putting in a comprehensive filtering system so users can narrow down what needs to be displayed and make the most of their screen real estate. The filtering system should be easily accessible with a press of a button, but not so intrusive that it takes up too much space.
This is another bit of functionality with benefits for desktop users as well. Although they don’t suffer from the same UI problems that mobile users do, filtering can help make searching for products less overwhelming for users on desktop computers as well.
4. Make Product Descriptions Meaningful
Better product descriptions are, once again, an area that both customers and search engines will appreciate. By giving meaningful descriptions to your products, you’re telling search engines more about what is contained on the page and increasing your chance of getting ranked. For users, it’s nice to be able to quickly get information about products they are interested in.
This is especially important on mobile. While desktop users can quickly open new tabs to research products outside of your site, doing so on mobile creates needless friction. By putting as much information about your products as possible in the description, you’re reducing their reliance on external sources and increasing the chances they’ll convert.
As a side tip, don’t rely on descriptions provided by manufacturers. Those will be repeated all over the web and will do nothing for your chances of getting ranked. Instead, develop your own style and voice to rewrite the description. This will give your site personality and help make your brand stand out.
5. Work to Improve Engagement
A customer who doesn’t visit your site or open your app can’t make a purchase. Therefore, it’s important that every business tries to increase customer engagement as much as possible. There are some universal ways to do this, such as sending out emails to customers to alert them to deals they may find interesting, new products, upcoming sales, etc. But mobile operating systems provide a better way to reach customers: push notifications.
Push notifications, when overdone, can annoy customers. But there’s a reason every top app uses them; they work. When done properly, just like email, your customers will find push notifications helpful rather than annoying. More importantly, sending notifications of new arrivals, trending products, or upcoming promotions will increase engagement and keep your brand fresh in the minds of customers who may not respond immediately to the notification.
Push notifications can also be a powerful tool for abandoned shopping cart recovery. If a customer has left an item in their cart and has not purchased it, a gentle reminder may be enough to close the sale.
6. Make Security a Top Priority
This is a bonus tip, as it is less about customer-facing aspects of your website and more about the backend. Staying on top of security patches where needed and making security a top priority will help to prevent a data breach at your site. Such a breach can put the financial information of customers at risk, as well as their logins and potentially personal information. That would be a gross disservice to your customers, and could ruin your reputation. Sites that suffer from security breaches have a long uphill battle to regain trust. It’s best to avoid that by taking security seriously from the start.
One common theme among all the tips is to make things as easy as possible for the mobile user. They don’t have the same screen real estate as their desktop counterparts, and they usually aren’t sitting down for a leisurely shopping session when they come to your site. They want to find what they need, make the purchase, and go about their day. Try to facilitate that as much as possible and you’ll see a boost in mCommerce sales.
Another way to bring mobile traffic to your site is to advertise on mobile devices. App Samurai’s platform offers proven success in advertising on both the supply side and demand side of the mobile industry. To find out how we can help you sell more, contact us today.