As we see a steady increase in the number of smartphone users, we also expect a steady growth in the demand for mobile services. Users like to have the world at their fingertips, quite literally. Yet, when it comes to shopping over mobile phones, shoppers are yet to completely embrace the phenomenon. We could attribute this to short attention spans and a nascent mobile commerce industry that is just short of creating a smooth experience for shoppers. Retailers are still testing the grounds for creating the perfect mobile App for their stores.
While there is no perfect formula to get a mobile shopper to complete his purchase over his phone, we can certainly identify the pain points faced by a customer and strive to iron these out so as to usher in the next exciting phase of mobile technology. Here are the top ten tips that will help enhance your customer’s shopping experience and encourage more buyers to shop via the mobile App.
- Design layouts suited to mobile screens: An average mobile screen is smaller than the desktop, and therefore the obvious logic is to have a layout that fits into smaller screens without the customer having to keep adjusting the width or height to be able to view all components on the page. It is also important to design keeping in mind how the customer might navigate through pages and keep the layout flexible enough to accommodate those users that may prefer to swipe their way to flip through products as also those who know what they want and prefer to use the search bar to find the product they are looking for. A responsive web design that automatically snaps content to suit the device on which it is being accessed is definitely the way forward for retailers who are looking to gain traction in mobile commerce.
- Bigger is always better over mobile: Fancy font sizes look good on a desktop screen but, when it comes to smartphones, the same is a bad idea because that would mean the customer would have to strain himself to read text and it could be a putting-off factor. Similarly, if the buttons on a webpage are so small that a potential shopper has to gingerly touch them to get their way around, it could become frustrating enough for them to quit the site. Thus, a thumb rule to follow while designing the mobile website is to have everything bigger in size so that it catches the eye and to keep the layout simple so that the number of clicks are fewer.
- Have your pages loaded faster: Even as the average consumer is being sucked into the supersonic speed of the technological world, there’s little patience or courtesy shown by shoppers for slow-paced interactions. Hence, if your web pages do not load within a few seconds, you can be sure of the customer abandoning your site at the same time. This holds true whether your webpage loads on a PC or a smartphone. This, therefore, becomes a mandatory pre-check before the launch of your website. While optimally sized webpages are a general rule, during the holiday or shopping season, it stands out to be the most important aspect since you are expected to stay prepared to handle traffic overload.
- Interlink the brick-and-motor with the mobile: Brick-and-mortar stores and mobile Apps need not be mutually exclusive factors in the quest to win customers’ attention. Each can boost the other’s revenue while maintaining their respective USPs. Apps like iBeacon or features like geo-detection nudge a customer towards the in-store with relevant product recommendation and discounts applicable. The in-store can allow customers to scan the barcode of the product with their smartphones and offer related suggestions on the mobile site to increase their up-sell or cross-sell revenue. Conversely, if the customer finds a similar product for a lesser price at the competitor’s site, it might be prudent to offer the product at a discounted rate and earn the customer’s loyalty.
- Keep checkout process simple: Statistics reveal that most mobile shoppers find the checkout process cumbersome or have concerns over security. A mobile App should necessarily accelerate the customer’s shopping process. If the customer is asked to fill out lengthy forms or is required to swap to different payment gateways while giving out confidential information like the credit card details, he might lose the interest or have trust issues and abandon the cart. On the same note, retailers are expected to provide the highest possible security cover for payment via mobile Apps.
- Ensure the inclusion of product reviews: A customer looks forward to a faster and simpler shopping process on a mobile, but that does not imply blind trust on the product he wishes to try out. A key factor that influences a shopper’s buying decision is reviews by other customers for the product. Including this feature on the mobile website is definitely a plus factor since the customer feels empowered and is sure of the decision he is making, and this will ultimately lead to a faster check-out and a positive impression of the brand on the customer’s mind.
- Offer loyalty or redeemable points: Who does not like earning brownie points? A win-win policy here is to offer loyalty points to a returning customer who shops via your mobile App. An added bonus would be to target relevant products that are on discount. The customer is sure to come back to redeem his coupon and benefit with recurring footfall. It goes without saying that the process to redeem loyalty points needs to be customer-friendly and simple to implement.
- Integrate social media tools: Customers like to have an interactive shopping experience. Having an integrated social media network that is easily accessible over the mobile App will make it more customer-friendly and allow shoppers to research well before purchasing a product.
- Allow creation of shopping lists: In case of repeat purchase of items like those on grocery lists, you can improve a customer’s shopping experience by letting him create a digital list and prompt them about items that they may have missed out when they shop next. Having a virtual shopping friend is something a customer would always value and cherish.
- Keep the information up to date: A lot of times, mobile Apps are created just to join the bandwagon and are promptly forgotten later. This is a sure shot way to kill your brand image in the eyes of the customer who may not be forgiving about finding an obsolete product or sold-out stock while browsing. A paradigm shift needs to happen because retailers need to recognize the behavioral pattern of a mobile user versus an e-commerce or in-store shopper. Having a detailed and organized strategy helps you to remain on-the-go, keep innovating, and remain fresh and exciting for your customers.