Whether you keep it in your trouser pocket, coat pocket or in a lot of cases nowadays, firmly clutched in the protection of your hands, there is no hiding from mobile phones and the influence they have on society. You only have to step onto a train or into a cafe and you’re guaranteed to see plenty of people with their heads down busily scrolling through social media’s or browsing the web, in fact it wouldn’t surprise me if you are reading this now on a mobile device right now.
According to a report from Ofcom 66% of adults in the UK own a smartphone and that figure only seem to grow year on year. As with all things mobile usage will inevitably peak but there are certainly no signs of it slowing down just yet and because of this, mobile commerce or mCommerce has boomed, making it integral to a businesses digital success.
What is mCommerce and why is it important?
In case you haven’t already clicked on, mCommerce stands for Mobile Commerce which is the act of shopping on the internet through a portable device like a mobile phone or a tablet instead of using a traditional desktop or laptop. So what’s the big deal then and why distinguish a difference between mCommerce and eCommerce if the only real difference is the device a person is using?
Back in 2013 mobile users overtook desktop users for searching the internet and the gap between mobile and desktop only seems to be getting larger. With more searches per year, mobile is the new dominant force webmasters and business owners alike need to accommodate for to ensure they get the most out of their digital presence. That is not all though, there are some more interesting facts to consider such as;
- The average person spends 2.8 hours per day browsing the web on mobile, more than desktop which is 2.5
- Mobile conversion rates are increase in the UK with more mobile users willing to convert, averaging 3.05% Q4 0215
- Mobiles are most commonly used in the mornings and afternoons on a typical work day
mCommerce is a lot more than just branding a visitor either a desktop user or a mobile user. To become successful with mCommerce you have to take into consideration the needs of your target audience and optimising your strategy to match those needs. Here are 5 key things to consider when working on your mCommerce strategy;
1. Mobile users search intent
A mobile user typically has a different intention when searching for something in comparison to a desktop user. Desktop users have the time and comfort to search for what they want, a mobile user doesn’t always have that luxury and could be searching whilst on the go or in a busy area. If a mobile user searches for your brand whilst on the go, they are more than likely looking for your physical store location or a contact number and want the information a lot faster.
It is believed that 1 in 3 mobile searches happen right before a user enters your store, this could be looking for your location, a product you sell or anything that would influence them to open the door. Another example is the product you sell, 15% of mobile searches that happen in store are product or price related with the users intent being price related, looking for product information or to find reviews which can persuade them to purchase.
Source: Think Google, Understanding Consumers’ Local Search Behavior
2. You don’t have to jump on the app bandwagon
Apple’s famous slogan “there’s an app for that!” couldn’t be more true. Yes having an app can be a great resource for an mCommerce strategy but it isn’t always necessary and in a lot of cases, the resources and cost of having an app developed is wasted. Huge companies like Amazon, eBay, even QVC have had fantastic results from their apps but a lot of mCommerce companies who delve into the app market are drown out by the noise of much bigger businesses and a mass competition.
Why would a user download your app when they can use other, more popular apps which already have a massive reach? Unless you have something really unique to offer, an app might be more a hindrance than anything. Instead of an app, it might be worth making your mCommerce website the best it can be.
3. mCommerce best practices
We’ve already established a mobile user wants clear and concise information, in fact they wanted the information they are searching for the moment they thought of it. Because of this the design on your mobile website needs to suit their needs with minimal fuss and not having to wait an eternity for the webpage to load.
A reoccurring theme when planning an mCommerce website is whether to go fully responsive or a separate mobile website load up when a mobile user comes along. Google themselves suggest a responsive website and when weighing up all the pro’s and con’s of both, a responsive website tends to win 9 times out of 10. Some other things to consider are;
- Make content clear and readable on mobile, try to cut out zooming
- Ensure navigation is easy to follow and the menu is mobile friendly
- Optimise your websites load speed, a fast website means a happy user
- Make use of mobile features such as click to call for contact numbers
- Mobiles and tablets are 2 different things, allow for your website to adjust to both
- Make all contact forms and other forms minimal, mobile users don’t want to spend ages filling in information
- Dont load all images, they take time and precious data roaming. Keep pages lightweight
Whatever you do, don’t be like Mile High Comics and completely neglect your mCommerce customers.
4. mCommerce checkout & payments
Keeping on the theme of mobile users are in a rush, the average mobile cart abandonment is a staggering 97% of all users which reach the checkout stage whereas the average abandonment rate for eCommerce websites is 68%. Taking away the generic things that effect abandonment rates such as added shipping cost, general comparison of products and even a change of heart, mobile users have many more reasons to abandon.
A lot of mCommerce websites overlook the importance of a slimline checkout procedure and use the same forms for desktop and mobile but when on mobile, filling in delivery information, registration information, usernames etc etc becomes too time consuming. Let a potential customer checkout as a guest and try to make the process as quick as possible for them.
A poorly designed checkout page can also be a contributing factor to downing tools and leaving your website. With mobile being a much smaller screen, does the checkout form mean endless scrolling to get to a purchase button? Do text areas break the screen requiring the user to zoom in or out? What other issues occur when trying to buy something from your store?
With the introduction of PayPal One Touch, Apple Pay and others, purchasing goods from mCommerce websites can be very straightforward and quick, make sure to take advantage of this and offer your consumers the options which best suits them.
5. mCommerce is growing and will continue to for the foreseeable future
That’s right, mCommerce isn’t some cheesy boy band that just won’t seem to go away. According to Statista in 2015 a total of $35.55 billion was spent on mobile adverting, in 2016 that figure is expected to rise to $47.16 billion worldwide.
mCommerce is one of the fastest growing niches for online spend and businesses, some making it their sole focus. In order to keep up with the demands of consumers and the ever changing digital world, integrating an mCommerce strategy is a must.