It’s an oft-quoted fact that mobile browsing has overtaken desktop for most websites and online retailers. But “mobile” browsing is a very broad term in today’s multiscreen landscape. Sales of tablets are on the rise while smartphones are in decline, so it’s easy for website owners to jump to a few conclusions.
But are they right to do so?
Recent consumer surveys showed that mobile shopping by 18-34 year olds was equally split, with 65% using tablets and 63% smartphones. Amongst Generation X customers – those over 35 – the data showed 66% purchase from tablets and 51% on smartphones.
So the prevailing wisdom that eCommerce sites should be optimised for tablets first doesn’t necessarily stack up. Those smaller screens play a very significant part in setting the tills jingling like sleigh bells.
So, What Does This Mean For eTailers?
Well, first and foremost it shows you need to understand what your target audience looks like before embarking on any costly and time-consuming website overhauls. Visit any eCommerce-enabled website today and it’s a safe bet that you’ll see the ubiquitous tablet-oriented template in use. A conformity is emerging based on knee-jerk hypotheses; it’s the “keeping up with the Joneses” principle.
Brands can be very quick to jump on the bandwagon when they see a competitor giving their online stores a facelift. But I also know there’s precious little competitive data available to validate the assumption that a new design is necessarily a better performer.
Without wanting to labour the statistics (this is the last one for this article, honest!) 91% of those same consumers said they wouldn’t hesitate to abandon a website with a poor mobile experience and buy from a competitor instead. In other words, don’t rely on brand loyalty to make up for failings in your mobile shopping experience. Customers won’t persevere and give you the benefit of the doubt, they’ll go elsewhere. Which means assuming you automatically know what your customers want and how they’re using your site is a dangerous game to play.
Losing Sight Of Your Customer
Ensuring you deliver a mobile shopping experience which makes life easy for your customers should be an essential part of your strategy during the Christmas period and the New Year sales. It’s easy to forget that the purchase process is as much a part of content marketing as the glossy brand stories which brought the consumer to your site in the first place. But everything is content. Whether it’s a product detail page, a shopping cart, a payment page or an order confirmation, it’s all content. And it all contributes to your customer’s experience of, and satisfaction with, your brand.
- If customers can’t read product descriptions or zoom in on detailed images on a smartphone while they’re commuting, you’ve potentially lost a sale;
- If the payment pages are too small and fiddly for even elf-sized fingers to enter payment or address details, you’ll be straight on Santa’s ‘naughty’ list;
- And if your navigation and site search aren’t designed for a full range of mobile devices, leaving customers unable to find what they’re looking for, then your competitors are just a Google search away.
The irony here is that optimising your site and your store to deliver a rewarding and lucrative mobile customer experience is nowhere near as difficult as most retailers think. Here are a few starting steps towards maximising your mobile sales at this crucial time of year:
Know which mobile devices predominate amongst your customers – cut down the work you need to do by focusing your efforts where they’ll reward the largest volume of people. Tailor promotions and advertising to the form factors and technical capabilities of the most widely used devices first and worry about the others if and when you have the time.
Even with the slickest mobile checkout process, customers won’t hang around for bloated content. If your site doesn’t load quickly enough or perform fast enough they’ll be gone. Streamline everything – optimise images, cut down copy and concentrate on the must-have elements.
Understand your visitor personas – until you can categorise who your customers are, you have little chance of understanding what they’re looking for or how best to present it. Personalising content and offers isn’t a nice-to-have any more, so why do so many retailers still push out one-size-fits-all content to mobile users?
Are customers on specific devices abandoning your store from one page more than others? If they’re falling out of the purchase process needlessly, then a small break-fix could bring some extra revenue back to your table.
Clearly, getting the mobile shopping experience right across devices takes far more than just adapting it for tablets. There’s a unique and specific user experience to consider – one which also has to tie in seamlessly to your desktop experience. And that’s a key reason why retailers have been avoiding the question for so long.
Let Rocket Science take the uncertainty out of your mobile commerce strategy – get in touch today and let’s talk about how we can help you out.