In many ways, mobile commerce (m-commerce) shares much in common with its more familiar counterpart — e-commerce. In both cases, customers go online to buy your products and services. The primary distinction is that all m-commerce shopping happens exclusively through handheld devices, like smartphones and tablets.
Although both are geared toward online consumers, the actual shopping experience is very different. As such, it’s important you have complementary strategies for each of these retail verticals.
Fortunately, both benefit from many of the same best practices that have already made e-commerce so widespread, including the need for:
- Intuitive navigation
- Engaging copy
- Enticing imagery
- Clear calls to action
Below are five additional tips designed to help boost conversions among those who visit your online store using mobile technology.
From desktop or laptop computers, e-commerce customers typically shop remotely — a process that involves placing orders online and waiting several days for delivery.
By contrast, smartphones are portable devices with built-in GPS tracking:
- As a merchant, this means you can use geo-targeting technology to “push” coupons, promotions, and recommendations to nearby shoppers.
- As a user, this means you can browse and pay before visiting the closest brick-and-mortar store to pick up your purchase.
With tracking enabled, m-commerce delivers a more seamless shopping experience by bridging the gap between the physical and virtual worlds.
2. User Identification
E-commerce is largely anonymous — until a customer voluntarily supplies his or her payment details during checkout.
Not so with m-commerce.
In addition to knowing the whereabouts of customers, mobile technology allows you to collect information like each user’s identity and shopping habits.
As a result, m-commerce is ideally suited for loyalty programs designed to boost customer engagement. The more you know about each user, the easier it becomes to tailor the shopping experience to his or her individual preferences.
3. Dedicated Apps
With e-commerce, the primary storefront is the website. As such, search engine optimization (SEO) is foundational to any long-term marketing efforts.
SEO is also important in the mobile world. With a dedicated app, you can create an entirely second storefront that lives perpetually on each user’s phone.
This strategy allows you to bypass organic search engine rankings so that you can connect with customers directly.
4. Data Security
Purchases made through mobile devices are often more secure than those made through PCs, since:
- Payment data must be pre-loaded into a user’s smartphone prior to making a purchase.
- The mobile device must be unlocked — often with a password, PIN, or biometric verification.
- The user must access his or her stored payment data (usually in the form of an unidentifiable token located in a virtual wallet like Apple Pay or Google Pay).
- The customer must manually initiate the purchase — sometimes with a second authorization step.
There are also many privacy concerns surrounding personal data and consumer behavior. Because m-commerce makes it so easy to collect this information, how you use and store this data becomes even more important.
To ensure that your customers enjoy the safest shopping experience possible, data security must become a top priority in your business.
5. Page Load Speed
Having a fast website is important no matter how your customers choose to interface with your online store.
Yet when shopping through mobile devices, page load speed is especially important. That’s because smartphones and tablets often have slower connections and less robust hardware than their PC counterparts (although this is changing fast).
To make matters worse, smartphone users are notoriously impatient. An estimated 53% of mobile visitors will abandon a site if it takes three or more seconds to load.
That’s not a lot of wiggle room, so do everything in your power to improve the page load speed of your site.
Because m-commerce is technically a subset of e-commerce, it’s tempting to adopt a one-size-fits-all strategy designed for all shoppers — whether they’re on smartphones or PCs.
- In the U.S. alone, m-commerce is already a $700 billion industry.
- Globally, purchases made through mobile devices account for half of all online sales.
These numbers will only grow as mobile browsing continues to eclipse desktop browsing (as it did for the first time in 2016).
As a small or medium-sized business, or marketing company assisting a business, the writing couldn’t be clearer. Long-term success requires that you constantly improve the shopping experience for those who are increasingly connected with their smart devices.
Author bio: Kristen Gramigna is Chief Marketing Officer for BluePay, a leading provider of technology-enabled payment processing for POS, e-commerce, and mobile interfaces. She brings more than 25 years of experience in the bankcard industry in direct sales, sales management, and marketing.