Due to their portability and convenience, mobile phones have become the defining technology of the current internet age. More people than ever are spending more time online and with smartphones, they can do it whenever and wherever they want. Naturally, this has had some profound effects on the e-commerce industry.
Now that the majority (65%) of traffic to retailers comes from mobile devices, businesses must adapt to the current trend or risk being left behind. Perhaps the biggest signifier of the shift was in 2019 when Google rolled out their official “mobile-first indexing” system, meaning their search engine crawlers would prioritize mobile versions of sites.
When the biggest name in internet data says to go mobile, it’s time to pay attention.
So What Does This Mean For Your E-commerce Business?
Firstly, it means far more opportunities. The whole purchasing experience has been revolutionized by smartphones. With fingerprint scanning and saved credit card information, potential customers are never more than 5 seconds away from making a purchase.
It also changes the way we have to think about e-commerce. Mobile phones have spearheaded the last digital decade for a reason. People want speed. They want convenience and they want accessibility. This presents new challenges to the industry.
Previously, the draw of shopping online was that it could be done from home, but those who did it invariably used their PC. Now, 4G and emerging 5G technologies are so advanced that someone could suddenly decide to look for a product that comes to mind on the bus to work or walking in the park.
Businesses that aren’t catering to the mobile market risk losing a massive chunk of potential customers, so if you haven’t already started optimizing your e-commerce store for mobile then read on to find out how.
1. Optimizing The UX
If you want to attract more mobile users, the first and simplest step should be making your site’s user experience (UX) catered towards mobile. Sites that have been designed with desktops in mind tend to be unwieldy and awkward to use on hand-held devices and this will be an instant turn-off for visitors.
Whether on a website or an app, allowing people to navigate quickly and easily will ensure that you’re matching users' expectations of a mobile experience.
Plan Around the Thumb
Think about how you usually use your phone. The most common approach is to hold it in your dominant hand and scroll and press with your thumb.
Now ask yourself which parts of the screen are within immediate reach and which are uncomfortable? Planning your layout around this information will ensure a smoother experience for mobile users. For example, you should make sure that important functions like the search bar are within easy reach.
Persistence And Consistency
People are using their phones constantly, wherever they go. Unlike a desktop, it’s not a dedicated experience and they will likely drop in and out of what they are doing in between other tasks.
Your store should be optimized to allow for this kind of use. In particular, the shopping cart should have a persistent memory so they can exit the app or turn off their phone and their products will still be there. Implementing a ‘like’ button for them to save items they want for later also allows for this kind of sporadic use.
It’s In The Small Things
There are lots of minor details that make a mobile UX feel smoother. Pay attention to the design and navigation, keeping them condensed and simple. Other features to consider are pinching to zoom or swiping down to refresh the page.
2. Optimizing The Checkout
Just because people can make lightning-fast payments with mobile doesn’t mean they will. Security is a major concern for mobile shoppers. The checkout process should provide reassurance. This can be done by including trust badges, lock icons, and reassuring language.
It should also be convenient and smooth. People generally find the checkout process to be the most frustrating part of an online transaction. A study into cart abandonment found that 24% of users canceled the purchase because they were asked to create an account, while 18% were deterred by a long or complicated checkout process.
Make sure the option to checkout as a guest is clearly visible. It also helps to have numbers and progress bars to show that the end is in sight.
3. Web Design
Speed is crucial to mobile users. Unfortunately, their phones often have small processors and unreliable internet connections, making it harder to deliver a consistently fast experience. Thankfully, there are ways to change your store’s site design to get it running optimally on mobile devices.
Make an App
Apps offer a faster experience than viewing a site in a mobile browser. They also let you access phone features like push notifications, location data, and more. On the downside, some users may be put off by the need to download and install an app, especially if they’re unsure about making a second purchase.
Accelerated Mobile Page
AMP is another useful tool in this regard and it stands for Accelerated Mobile Page. It’s essentially a stripped-down web page that uses lightweight HTML and CSS code, making it smaller and quicker to load on a phone’s processor.
Progressive Web App
A PWA (Progressive Web App) is a website that looks and functions similarly to a native app. It runs faster than a regular web page and can access a lot of the same features as a native app, like push notifications, but it all runs from the browser and consequently doesn’t need to be downloaded.
Users can save it to their home screen like an app but without using storage and memory.
Cell phones are practically synonymous with social media with around 50% of our phone time being spent on apps like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
People use these apps to make friends, share news and jokes, and engage in discussions so reaching out to customers here is more personal as you’re in a more informal setting.
There are lots of ways to get involved with customers through social media, from polls to viral video campaigns. Targeting social media marketing will go a long way towards increasing your visibility, while simultaneously making your brand more relatable.
5. SMS Marketing
Texting isn’t often thought of as a marketing channel. Compared to the versatility offered by emails and social media, a simple text can seem antiquated and analog. However, text messages can offer a lot of unique benefits for marketing.
They’re delivered instantly - regardless of whether an internet connection exists - making them excellent tools for announcing time-sensitive content like a flash sale or exclusive discount.
Texts also have a higher open rate than any other channel with the directness of a text also making it feel more personal, so be sure to personalize your text messages for extra points!
The Possibilities Are Endless
Cell phones have undoubtedly revolutionized our relationship with technology over the past two decades and with social media marketing, the way businesses interact with their customers has also changed drastically, offering increasingly innovative ways to engage with consumers.
In the world of eCommerce, it’s crucial to be able to adapt with the times, and catering to mobile use is a must for anyone looking to grow their business!