With everyone talking about mobile commerce, you may be wondering how to best incorporate it in your brick-and-mortar store. 

Mobile commerce, also known as m-commerce, is often confused with e-commerce. The two share similarities, but there’s one big difference.

Mobile commerce is a term for selling products via a mobile device such as a smartphone or tablet, while e-commerce encompasses all commercial transactions conducted on the internet regardless of the device used.

With 81% of Americans owning a smartphone, there is more opportunity than ever for consumers to shop online. Your online store needs to be optimized for the mobile user to make a purchase quickly and easily.

Are you ready to spruce up your mobile commerce strategy? Let’s examine 5 tips you can implement today.

81% of Americans own a smartphone. – Pew Research

1. Focus on the user experience

You take great pride in the shopping experience you provide in-store. But when it comes to your online presence, you could be missing out and not even know it.

Although mobile devices are responsible for more than 50% of all traffic in the US, they account for only 40% of e-commerce conversions. You’ll sometimes hear this called the “conversion gap.” 

If mobile devices account for about half of web traffic on your site, you’d want them to account for about half of conversions. If they don’t, poor user experience may be the culprit.

There are many ways to improve user experience and reduce the conversion gap on mobile.

  • Use the right font size. Strategic font size improves visibility, making it easier for mobile users to find what they’re looking for. Designers suggest you aim for a minimum of 16 pixels for body text and 13-14 pixels for secondary text such as captions. 
  • Use clear images. Clear images are critical, as 75% of shoppers make a purchase based on what they see in photos and videos not what they read. 
  • Make decisions easy. Mobile users have distractions all around them, ranging from text messages to social media apps. Do your part in showing them the way. Invite visitors to check out a gallery of photos, read reviews or shop. Or if they want to learn more about your mission or find you on social, include that in the header or footer. Keep the main content actionable. From there, guide users each step of the way with clear calls-to-action (CTAs).
  • Minimize steps to make a purchase. The average checkout flow has nearly 15 form fields, which is roughly twice as many as necessary to make a sale. Take a tip from Amazon, where most products can be purchased in one click.

75% of shoppers make a purchase based on what they see in photos and videos not what they read. – GeoMarketing

2. Make data-driven decisions

Even if you’re achieving better than average results, there may be room for improvement. A/B testing can help.

It’s a randomized test with two variables presented to the user. It’s designed to give you data to help you understand which option performs best with your audience.

Some of the things you can test include:

  • Layout, such as number of columns, the appearance of the header and footer, and placement of images
  • Navigation, including the location and use of menus
  • Text, video and image content, such as the placement, length and type
  • Colors, with a focus on those known to increase sales

Comparing one aspect of your mobile website at a time allows you to accurately pinpoint the “winner.” When you test multiple elements at the same time, you muddy the results. 

A/B testing is best for checking on one element of our mobile site at a time.

3. Have a mobile-friendly website

Wireless handheld devices are everywhere, with the United States, China and India leading the pack. People have more opportunity than ever before to shop online, even when they’re on the go.

Try this.

Open your site on your smartphone right now and navigate it as a user. Do you like everything you see? Note if there are areas where you get impatient. Browse a few products and then choose one to buy. Along the way, note if there are areas where you get impatient or content that distracts you.

Here’s how to provide a mobile-friendly experience.

  • Make it fast. From buying on a web browser to making an in-app purchase on social media, a fast browsing experience is desirable. With so many options, waiting around for a page to load is out of the question for most people. Enter your URL into Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool to see how quickly your website loads. It will show you your page speed in several key categories and give you recommendations on where to improve. 
  • Easy-to-follow navigation. Make it easy with a simple navigation bar that remains prominently displayed at all times. Stay away from menus that disappear. At first glance, they seem to offer more space on the page, but they can be frustrating for users. 
  • Keep your text concise. A large block of text on a mobile device can distract from your message. Keep it concise without losing any of its value. Opt for shorter sentences and shorter paragraphs with plenty of white space around the text and imagery.

People shop on the go.

4. Make mobile payments a cinch

Online purchases used to be reserved for credit cards and debit cards. While these payment options remain popular, a lot has changed.

Venmo is growing in popularity, with more than 40 million users and total payment volume eclipsing $20 billion per quarter. A growing number of well-known brick-and-mortar stores are accepting Venmo for online purchases, like Abercrombie & Fitch, Lululemon and Foot Locker.

When setting up a mobile POS (mPOS) system, it’s important to understand how consumers are making mobile purchases in 2020. Nontraditional payment methods include:

  • Mobile wallets (such as Apple Pay and Google Pay)
  • Mobile money transfers
  • PayPal
  • Venmo

When you provide the option to use all these methods, there’s a better chance the consumer will find a payment option that suits their preferred way of spending—thus solidifying your sale.

The more ways you give your customers to pay, the more likely they are to buy from you.

5. Upgrade your mobile app

The average smartphone user has 60-90 apps on their device, so yours will have a lot of competition. Here’s some advice for optimizing your app:

  • Get professional help. Unless you have someone on your team who has experience updating mobile apps, it’s typically best to outsource the project to a proven provider. An app that crashes, doesn’t load properly or isn’t secure will do more harm than good. 
  • Maintain brand consistency. From direct mail and online ads to your email campaigns, your brand messaging should remain the same. If your app doesn’t maintain this consistency, it can confuse your audience, especially those who are familiar with your brand. Open your app to see how it looks. Focus not just on the colors and logo but also on the language to make sure it matches your brand voice.
  • Add value. Your app should make the user’s life better. For example, try awarding points for purchases or offering discounts on special days of the year, such as the consumer’s birthday. This gives your audience another reason to download the app.
  • Allow for in-app payments. It’s efficient and fast, making it convenient for users to check out. It’s also possible for consumers to store their payment information for even more convenience in the future.
  • Remind customers about your app. If you want to increase downloads, add a sign with your app info near your checkout area at your physical location. Consider a small incentive like a discount off their purchase for new sign-ups on the app. Include a link in your e-newsletter for current and potential customers. Again, highlight a small discount or gift—or even the promise of future rewards—for anyone who downloads the app or logs in by a certain day.

If your business has an app, make sure it works and works well.

Protect against mobile commerce checkout challenges

The average online shopping cart abandonment rate is nearly 70%. That’s a lot of money left on the table. Lowering your abandonment rate makes a big impact right away—more sales, revenue and profit. 

More than 80% of consumers abandon checkout on a mobile device. Some of the top reasons for shopping cart abandonment include:

  • Website not being mobile-friendly
  • Not enough product details
  • Not enough payment methods 
  • Issues with shipping costs and times
  • The requirement to create an account

To reduce your shopping cart abandonment rate, try the following strategies:

  • Target users who abandon their cart. No matter how hard you try, some consumers will abandon their cart. Fortunately, through a dedicated retargeting campaign, you can win these potential customers back. Retargeting ads are ads that display to users based on previous online activity—such as visiting your site and almost buying something. You can retarget them with ads on Facebook, Google, Bing and more.
  • Avoid surprises. Don’t increase prices right before checkout, slip in shipping costs, or force the buyer to complete a long registration form. 

The average online shopping cart abandonment rate is nearly 70%. – Baymard Institute

Final thoughts on creating a mobile commerce strategy

The e-commerce extension of your brick-and-mortar store might be thriving… yet. But it’s possible to shore up your mobile strategy.

With help from the steps above, you can adjust your mobile commerce strategy. Engage your audience and provide a top-notch user experience.

If you do that, you’ll see an increase in both sales and profit. 

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