Mobile Optimization for E-Commerce: Benefits & Best Practices

Mobile commerce means more in today’s consumer world and, as a business owner, it’s hard to ignore. All day long, everyone is consulting their mobile devices to help make their important decisions, including their shopping decisions. The kicker? Not only are they consulting mobile devices to shop on-the-go, consumers are also consulting their devices in-store, eschewing the traditional sales associates mere feet away. Because of this, businesses who prioritize mobile optimization for their e-commerce sites have a competitive advantage over e-commerce businesses who don’t. When done right, mobile optimization offer benefits to the business as well as the consumers

Mobile Commerce: A Short Story

Picture it: A consumer is going about their daily routine and running errands. They go into a store, walk the aisles and see a bounty of things they need. But, wait! What if there is a cheaper price on the store site, or at another retailer? Sometimes a store will have sales or coupons only available to use online.

In the span of seconds, they can mobilize. By using either a mobile app or a mobile-optimized e-commerce site, customers can compare prices, find their nearest location, and place an order. This happens outside and inside of physical stores. Meanwhile, store associates and brick-and-mortar locations are a nearby resource. But, no matter where they are, the handy mobile phone is even closer and provides a far more instant gratification-themed result. This is more common among consumers than you think. Whether a business is strictly e-commerce or a combination of online and brick, merchants should take note.

The Impact of Mobile on E-Commerce

Mobile has made a significant impact on how consumers shop on-the-go, in-store, and online. As of a 2017 study by Salsify (reported by PRNewswire), 77% of shoppers are using their mobile devices to shop while physically in stores. Jason Purcell, CEP and co-founder of Salsify, summed up the draw to mobile:

“Consumers are increasingly turning to their mobile devices to answer product-related questions, like price and availability, while they shop. This year’s research again demonstrated just how critical it is for every brand and retailer to have a systemized approach to maintain robust and relevant digital content to retain shopper attention and win sales.”

This means that merchants need to be extra-aware of how their digital content via apps and websites is conveyed to consumers. For example, Target saw that 98% of their customers were shopping digitally and that 75% were using mobile. In the case of their patio furniture category, the in-store and online teams were still operating and marketing separately, despite 50% of their sales coming through Target.com.

After a walk in the customer’s shoes and Target realized that guests would search patio furniture on mobile and see completely different results than what was in-store. Because of this, Target merged their online and offline marketing team that prioritized mobile based on the digital demand. Target reacted to the consumer needs, and your business should too.

Mobile is Mutually Beneficial

If you weren’t already convinced of the customer need for the mobile optimization of your e-commerce business, keep reading. The business world has and continues to evolve with mobile, which is proven by roughly 57% of all internet traffic coming from smartphones and other mobile devices. Without a mobile presence to supplement your online experience, you could be missing out on a great source of conversions. Other good reasons for mobile optimization include the following:

Competitive Advantage

Some businesses are hesitant to adopt mobile commerce despite the overwhelming evidence that it is beneficial. By creating a mobile presence for yourself, you’re giving your business a competitive advantage over those who don’t have one. It opens the doorway to multiple other benefits, including increased sales and brand loyalty.

Better User Experience

Customers like options not just in products or services, but where they find them as well. Having an omnichannel strategy for your business, i.e. multiple points of access will likely lead to more business, the most obvious benefit of all. Your customers will thank you for having a seamless user experience across in-store, desktop, and mobile.

Mobile Optimization Best Practices

Hopefully, by this point, you’re convinced of the value that mobile optimization of your e-commerce site will bring your business. With that in mind, here are a few things to remember and check off your optimization to-do list when making the move.

Make Immediately Visible Text

Optimizing for mobile should automatically mean optimizing everything for mobile, especially text. When an app or website loads on a mobile device it should load with the text easily and instantly visible. No zoom-in required.

Ensure a Fast Load Time

No one likes to sit and stare at a blank white page. One of the biggest turn-offs to any e-commerce customer, whether it be desktop or mobile, is enduring a slow page load. This is not only important to your conversion rate, but also to your search ranking. Reducing the amount of content for your mobile site or shrinking images are a couple of ways to keep a nice-paced loading time.

Minimize Pop-Ups

It’s a small screen. Don’t take up all of it with pop-ups that cover the content completely, or repeatedly pop up. If you are trying to promote a sale or email sign-up with a temporary message pop-up, consider doing a top-of-screen banner instead. Another option is to make sure the exit button on the pop-up is big enough to click easily with a finger.

Make Clicks Easy

All of those clickable buttons to navigate the different areas of a desktop website have the luxury of being any size. All a customer needs on a desktop is the small point of a mouse. On mobile, however, anything that is clickable on your site needs to be sized accordingly for the fingertip. In other words, they need to be a little bit bigger. Don’t force a mobile visitor to zoom for a button, or accidentally click the wrong area.

There is so much more available digitally now than there ever was before, and consumers are taking advantage. For your business to flourish, it’s necessary to keep up with consumer trends, like mobile, and work to stay relevant in e-commerce retail.

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