Optimizing your eCommerce platform for the modern, mobile shopper
May 24, 2016
A successful mCommerce strategy is about more than having a responsive website.
The way consumers look for, compare and purchase products has transformed the commerce market. Many brands, including big-name companies such as Nordstrom, Target and Wal-Mart, have been forced to restructure their business models and selling platforms to better support consumers through eCommerce channels. Furthermore, the proliferation of digital devices, from smartphones to tablets, has sent mCommerce rates soaring.
It is incredibly important that online sellers today optimize their sites in a way that makes shopping on mobile devices seamless. But there is a lot more that goes into achieving this goal than simply making sure the website is responsive, meaning it adjusts to fit the screen size of whatever device being used. It is essential that everything - from the product images and descriptions to the method of payment being used - is tailored to meet the needs of mobile commerce customers.
And this means focusing not just on the experience consumers have has once they arrive on a business' site, but the processes involved both before and after. Research recently conducted by Nielsen found that, before purchasing a product, 72 percent of people who shop on their phones research an item, 70 percent look at the cost and 60 percent look to see what stores near them carry it. And the statistics are pretty similar for consumers shopping on a tablet, with more than half of the study's respondents saying they will read reviews of the product before purchasing it.
One of the most efficient ways for an eCommerce company to update and optimize its mobile strategy is to break down the shopping experience into two distinct phases of the purchasing cycle. Below are some of the most important factors the Nielsen study showed sellers should focus on to improve their mCommerce strategies, categorized into one of the two stages.
Before purchasing an item…
Consumers who shop from a mobile phone or tablet have a wide range of options to choose from. They aren't likely to just buy from the first site they come across. When it comes to mCommerce shopping, the Nielsen study found that visual elements are most important, with consumers mostly wanting to see a product's:
Most sellers know that the images they use to display their products should be high-quality. But not as many put enough time and attention into crafting engaging descriptions for the item. This text should be informative and answer any and all questions a shopper may have about the object, such as the measurements, materials, uses, etc. And while the specifications of the product are important, companies should also use the description area as a way to show off their creativity, speak the language of their ideal customers and make their items stand out from competitors'.
In an article for Moz, Martina Mercer recently highlighted some of the ways sellers can use the descriptions to their advantage, such as wording them in a way that eliminate the guilt some buyers may feel about shopping. To do that, the source suggested using actionable phrases, emphasizing urgency and exclusivity, and explaining how the item will benefit them (i.e., by saving money or enhancing their wardrobe).
To further strengthen eCommerce strategy for mobile shopping, companies should make sure the reviews of the product can easily be found and read and that a store locator feature is available.
After placing an order…
The Internet of Things and rapid proliferation of digital devices have allowed consumers to find and purchase the products they need at lightning speed. The success of eCommerce is built around providing shoppers with the most convenient experiences possible. And that does not just apply to finding and ordering something, either. Once an item is purchased, eRetailers need to make sure they are making it simple and seamless for their customers to perform a wide range of other tasks and functions.
According to Nielsen, after placing an order, more than half of shoppers said it is important that they are able to seamlessly revisit the eCommerce app or site from their mobile devices and 33 percent said they want to be able to sign up for a rewards program from their smartphones. Above all else, though, they value the ability to keep tabs on when they can expect the goods they bought. The source revealed that 65 percent of consumers place a special emphasis on being able to track the progress of an order.
Increasing delivery times has become a priority for the majority of commerce companies. However, it is impossible for online sellers to provide their customers with the real-time insight and visibility if they themselves do not have this kind of advanced accessibility into logistics, warehousing and inventory operations.
This is why it is crucial that the eCommerce platform businesses use provides order management solutions which can be integrated and enhanced with mobile-enabled features and functionalities.