In today’s increasingly mobile-first world, e-commerce on mobile is becoming the leading retail space for consumers, both online and in-store.
Consumer behaviors that emerged during the pandemic are now permanent, including the preference to pay and shop with smartphones. Indeed, consumer appetites for mobile payments have soared over the past decade. In the U.S., 74% of consumers used mobile payments in 2022, up from only 10% in 2013.1
Clearly, an intelligent mobile strategy is a necessity for e-commerce businesses. But it’s also an essential part of building a winning omnichannel experience to meet the expectations of consumers. To be prepared for both today and tomorrow, here are several ways to optimize your m-commerce presence and take your business to the next level.
Mobile site design is vital for seamless m-commerce
Responsive web design has become a necessity over the past several years, as it allows your site to reformat automatically based on screen size. If someone browses your site on their smartphone and then visits it on their laptop later in the day, the site will adapt to ensure a seamless viewing experience.
Having a responsive site is important for delivering an intuitive, accessible experience no matter where your customers find you (hence the importance of omnichannel strategies). But given mobile’s growing popularity, it makes sense to go a few steps beyond that. An optimized mobile design with fraud control—complete with cutting-edge, EMV specification-based payments technology like Three Domain Secure (3DS), Secure Remote Commerce (SRC), and Tokenization—is the ultimate goal.
Savvy web developers can help you design a mobile-optimized site that caters to the smartphone-browsing experience. Think large, easy-to-tap navigation buttons, and streamlined menus for a fast, frictionless checkout experience.
In addition, you’ll often notice that elements such as photos and blog posts stack on top of each other on mobile sites, whereas they sit side by side on a desktop screen. Stacking allows for a cleaner view on small screens, while maintaining the quality of the browsing experience.
Mobile-optimized sites emphasize functionality and simplicity, rather than cramming as many elements as possible into a small display. If the action buttons on your mobile site are so small that they’re unclickable, customers will become frustrated and leave.
Speed is critical to keeping online shopping attention
Remember: Users want information fast, especially today. Chances are, they’re on the move or multitasking on their smartphones. That’s why easy-to-read, easy-to-swipe features are the name of the game in mobile-optimized design.
Page load times are also incredibly important to the user experience, whether on a computer or on a mobile device. If pages load slowly, you risk users navigating away from your website.
Fortunately, reducing page load times can increase conversions—and you don’t need to overhaul your entire site to get there. Simply reducing the number of images and page elements on each page might help them load faster, so be sure to discuss this requirement with your developer.
When selecting elements for your pages, be discerning about what needs to be there. Do you need 10 photos to showcase a product, or will five do the job just as well? Image size and resolution are equally important. A single giant file will take longer to load than 10 well-sized ones. Choose just a few high-quality, appropriately sized photos to avoid creating visual clutter and potentially slowing down your site.
Mobile apps can make a big difference for customer experience
A mobile-optimized site is one thing. But once you’ve conquered your design issues, a new question arises: Does your e-commerce business need its own mobile app? The answer: maybe.
If you run a large e-commerce enterprise, building a mobile app might make sense. A brand app is a controlled environment, and you can add features and incentives to encourage shoppers to return time and again. Loyalty programs, for instance, are a great way to help generate repeat purchases, as they offer rewards to frequent customers. Creating an in-app loyalty program could encourage customers to check back often to access special deals and promotions.
Major brands build their own apps and use them to offer their customers multiple ways to shop and pay, including BOPIS (buy online, pickup in-store). Plus, apps allow brands to offer flexible payment methods, including contactless and digital wallets, which is increasingly important as contactless payments via mobile wallets are a growing consumer preference. According to one study, 86% of U.S. mobile wallet users have made a purchase via a retailer’s embedded mobile app.2
But if you run a small e-commerce business, the pros and cons of building your own app are a bit less clear. People might not keep more than two retail apps on their smartphones, and they are unlikely to check the app every day. Until your company grows larger, you may be better off investing in mobile site optimization, as shoppers could be more likely to find your site through search engines than to download an app. Alternatively, you might consider using one of the many SaaS mobile app services on the market today in lieu of building your own custom app.
But if you’re ready to build one, brand apps can be incredibly powerful for generating customer relationships and driving conversions. With mobile e-commerce on the rise, and as people become increasingly accustomed to shopping in apps, a brand-centric mobile space can significantly raise the profile of your business.
Best practices for a brand mobile app approach
Apps can effectively tie together the omnichannel experience, particularly if you have a brick-and-mortar store. A dynamic app connects the threads between the online and in-person elements of your strategy, helping drive people from all points in the funnel toward conversion—but only if it provides an experience that’s familiar and enjoyable to the customer.
That means providing features like well-timed push notifications, localization functions and email and social media integrations. Best practices like using hashtags and responding to comments are crucial for engaging customers, for example. But a frictionless checkout is just as important.
Advanced technology like Secure Remote Commerce (SRC) can give your customers the kind of secure, convenient payment experience they’ve come to expect.
Consider this scenario: A consumer who clicks on a promoted social media post might land on your website, where they see a special promotion for first-time app users. The person downloads the app and makes an SRC-enabled purchase. A day later, you nudge them to open the app again via a push notification, keeping your company top of mind.
When they return to the app, they see an exclusive local offer to be used at your brick-and-mortar location. You might also invite them to share their next purchase on social media with a special hashtag, driving up engagement and promoting your brand to their followers. Your social media strategist then comments on the post, showing that you value the customer.
This cycle fosters loyalty with the customer, who is now likely to remember your brand and make repeat purchases. An app makes it possible to create this dynamic with each one of your customers.
The big picture of omnichannel optimization
Ideally, the different elements of your omnichannel strategy will complement one another for a powerful e-commerce and m-commerce experience. But this is only the beginning.
In today’s digital era, keeping your customers loyal and attracting new ones will depend on integrating social media, customer service at brick-and-mortar locations and payment best practices into one high-converting omnichannel strategy. Until then, work with your web developer to optimize your site, build your app and continue laying the groundwork for rich customer relationships and a profitable future.
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1 Federal Reserve, 2023. “Study: Business, Consumer Appetite for Faster Payment Options Grows.” Viewed 17 July 2023.
2 Marqeta, 2023. “2023 State of Payments.” Viewed 17 July 2023.
The information provided herein is sponsored by Discover® Global Network. It is intended for informational purposes, and is not intended as a substitute for professional advice.