For online business owners, the impact that mobile devices have had on the convenience and widespread adoption of online shopping is undeniable. No longer having to be tied to a computer to make purchases, consumers are rapidly shifting to mobile devices as their preferred method for shopping online.
Mobile commerce is a subset of ecommerce that’s been growing exponentially over the last few years. Brands are beginning to realize the value of investing in mobile commerce, which has caused competition to increase substantially for online retailers. Consumers now expect a user-focused experience when shopping on their mobile devices, so it’s crucial that businesses are able to provide that for their them.
In this Insight, we’ll be looking at what mobile commerce is, and the impact it’s had on brands selling their products online. We’ll highlight the benefits—as well as disadvantages—to mobile commerce, and provide specific best practices to follow to help you succeed with mobile selling in the future.
What is mobile commerce?
Mobile commerce (also referred to as m-commerce), is the use of mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets to complete transactions online. It’s an advancement from ecommerce, enabling people to buy and sell goods or services from virtually anywhere, simply using the device in their pocket.
Mobile commerce has grown to be an all-encompassing term that includes any type of mobile transaction, such as: mobile banking, shopping, or completing a virtual payment. Essentially any transfer of money that takes place on your mobile device fits under the umbrella term of mobile commerce.
Why does it matter?
Mobile commerce is the natural progression of online shopping for the modern consumer. Why would you go to a physical store—or even on your laptop—to buy a product when you could do it just as fast from your mobile device? Today’s consumer demands instant gratification, and mobile commerce is the perfect response to that need.
Looking at recent studies of mobile traffic, 49 percent of global site traffic comes from mobile devices. We’ll likely see that number continue to climb as new technologies provide customers with simpler and more user-focus mobile shopping experiences. Mobile is where the ecommerce industry is moving, and if you aren’t prepared to meet the shifting demands of consumers there’s nothing stopping them from switching to your competition.
Benefits and Disadvantages of Mobile Commerce
It’d be an understatement to say that mobile commerce has changed the way consumers shop online. Along with all the benefits that have come with this new subset of ecommerce, there have also been a fair amount of disadvantages that have impacted retailers. First, we’d like to go over the benefits that mobile commerce offers:
1. Provides a seamless user experience across multiple platforms
The popularity of mobile commerce has urged brands to develop a more cohesive experience between the different shopping platforms they offer. Now more than ever, it’s important that businesses provide their customers with a seamless shopping experience across multiple platforms, and adopt an omni-channel retail strategy.
For example, LUSH Cosmetics provides a wide range of methods to purchase their products from a mobile device, including: buying directly on Instagram, using their mobile application, or navigating to their site via a mobile web browser. Each platform offers the same products and functions, but this approach allows the user to shop for items in a way that’s most convenient for them.
2. Provides customers with a variety of mobile payment options
Digital wallets have grown in popularity due to the rising prominence of mobile commerce. Gone are the days of carrying around bulky wallets with a dozen or so cards crammed into its inner crevices. Now, consumers are opting to keep all their payment methods (credit/debit cards, gift cards, etc.) in their mobile wallets. This is good for ecommerce businesses because it means they can provide a variety of payment options for their customers rather than just accepting debit/credit cards.
3. Provides a direct line of communication to your customers
Brands no longer have to deal with the limitations of traditional marketing mediums to reach their customers. Mobile commerce has paved the way for more direct methods of communicating with customers such as SMS text, and push notifications. This direct method of marketing to consumers has been instrumental in helping to grow mobile commerce revenue exponentially.
SMS texting has recently become a highly effective way to stay connected with your customers as it allows you to personally deliver details about upcoming sales and promotions right to their phone. With SMS text open rates beating email nearly 5x over, it’s proven to be one of the most effective methods for drawing the interest of your target audience.
4. Bring your online store to the customer
Mobile commerce has allowed for the emergence of a new subset of ecommerce known as social commerce. Rather than having to draw customers into an online store, brands are opting to bring their stores to the consumer. On platforms like Facebook and Instagram, you can find businesses selling products directly through the app, allow users to shop for items without needing to leave the page they’re on.
There are massive growth opportunities in mobile commerce. Mobile commerce transactions influence over 40 percent of revenue for leading B2B organizations. Half of the search queries are made on smartphones. And that number will grow to 70 percent by 2020.
Next we’ll address some of the disadvantages of mobile commmerce, and how it’s made things slightly more complicated for online retailers…
1. Customer patience decreases
Consumers are already impatient when shopping on desktop ecommerce sites, but that impatience is amplified when they shift over to their mobile devices. 46 percent of people say waiting for pages to load is what they dislike most about browsing the web on mobile. If your mobile site is taking too long to load, a large percentage of your customers are likely bouncing because they don’t have the time wait around. It’s crucial for you to have your site content optimized to load as quickly as possible, or you risk losing taking a hit to your mobile conversion rate.
2. The need for a dedicated developer to focus on optimization
If you plan on continually optimizing your site, it’s necessary to have a dedicated developer that can design and implement tests on a regular basis. Unless you’re working with an agency that can provide testing and optimization services, handling this on your own can be a very difficult task, especially when your developers are busy working on other parts of your site. If you’re planning to invest in building up your mobile commerce strategy, you’ll need a dedicated developer that can provide expertise in building and optimizing a mobile app/site.
3. Easier for customers to compare prices
Mobile shopping allows customers to quickly compare prices — and shipping costs — for dozens of ecommerce stores until they find the best deal. You can overcome this problem by having a constant awareness of what your competition is charge to help combat price undercutting. Otherwise, there’s not much you can do to prevent customers from leaving your site to check prices elsewhere, which is why it’s so important to have a great mobile experience. If your UX is great, there will be less motivation for your customers to look elsewhere for the same product.
Best Practices to Succeed in Mobile Commerce
1. Focus on page speed
The faster and smoother you can make your user experience on mobile, the happier your customers will be. Focus on getting your pages to load as quickly as possible. Recent data shows that while more than half of overall web traffic comes from mobile, mobile conversion rates are much lower than desktop. What does this mean for ecommerce business owners? Page speed equals revenue. The faster your pages load, the higher your conversion rate will be.
2. Use social proof whenever possible
Security concerns are the most common culprit for cart abandonment on mobile. Users are much less likely to trust a mobile than they are a desktop site, so it’s important that you have a strategy to help build trust early-on in the shopping experience. This is where customer reviews and product ratings come into play. Find a way to inject social proof into the user experience at every step of the purchasing process, so when they’re ready to checkout, they have complete trust in your brand and the item(s) that they’re purchasing.
3. Design with “mobile-first” in mind
It doesn’t matter if you’re creating an ecommerce site from scratch or redesign a pre-existing one, in 2020 you need to be thinking about mobile first when designing your site. Google’s mobile-first indexing has drastically shifted designers’ focus towards mobile optimization. Previously, Google’s indexing primarily used the desktop version of a page’s content when evaluating the relevance of a page to a user’s search query. Since the majority of users now search Google on a mobile device, the search engine crawls and indexes pages based on mobile content first.
4. Always be testing
It’s important to foster a culture of experimentation when designing and optimizing your mobile site or application. Mobile commerce is in a state of constant evolution. If your brand isn’t capable of adapting to the changing demands of the consumer, you’ll have a difficult time staying relevant as mobile becomes the top choice for shopping online.
Adopting the practice of continuous improvement will help keep you and your team updated on the ever-evolving preferences of your users, and will ensure that your site is continuously improving. Even if you’re running 1 test a month on your mobile site, the insights you glean from that test will ultimately help to develop a better shopping experience for your customers.
Note: If you’re looking for more actionable ways to improve the conversion rate of your mobile site, make sure you read our Insight that details UX design best practices for mobile optimization.
Mobile Commerce is Where The Consumer is Moving
Mobile commerce is where the consumer is moving, and it’s your job to follow that movement if you plan to retain relevancy in the constantly shifting landscape of ecommerce. Mobile commerce is all about meeting your customers where they’re at, not trying to reel them into your store with traditional sales tactics.
If you’re interested in optimizing your mobile experience for a better conversion rate, contact The Good for a free landing page assessment where we’ll take a close look at your site and determine how you can improve both mobile and desktop elements. We work with brands both large and small to help create the best online experiences possible, so if you feel like your site needs to be updated our services are a great place to start.
About the Author
Rudy Klobas regularly works to produce insightful, informative content and copywriting designed to help ecommerce leaders increase conversions.