Let's face it: you can't ignore mobile devices any more. According to research from eDigitalResearch and IMRG in April 2013, 39% of smartphone owners have already used their mobile device to make a purchase and 10% of all ecommerce website visits come from mobile.
Having said that, mobile optimisation can be a pain. But keep you eyes fixed on the prize and it'll become easier to go through the process. Some advantages that mobiles present to ecommerce website owners are:
- Mobile is personal so you can access the customer while he's going about shopping
- The whole experience is portable so the customer can take your ecommerce website with him on the go
- People using mobiles are connected to the web
- You can get location data and personalise the experience
- On mobile, your customers can surf through your website one-handed so it's easier to carry on other tasks
- Mobile is always on
- Mobile is now a universal alert tool
When you're making your website mobile-optimised, you need to ensure that you remove any heavy images or flash files so your site loads easily on the phone in limited bandwidth. Here are a few other things to consider:
1 - Offer All the Great Services:
Your mobile ecommerce website shouldn't lose the key functionalities of your desktop website. Offer your customers the chance to interact with the same great services they did on their desks, now on the go. Your customers will be highly disappointed if they don't find the same great features and even if they make a mental note to check the desktop version later, there's no guarantee that a competitor mobile-friendly version won't steal them away on the way home.
2 - Streamline Customer Experience:
Understand where and why your customers will use the mobile version of your ecommerce website. Once you've done your research and jotted down the points of contact, you'll be able to offer a better customer experience. For example, it is known that customers use their mobiles to check prices and product reviews in-store. They also like to check recommendations from friends and peers. Use the data you collect (including customer profiles and routines) to hone your mobile site.
3 - Ask for Lesser Input:
Your mobile visitors don't have a full computer keyboard at their disposal. They will be approaching your site with a smaller screen and limited keys. Keep forms short and reduce the amount of input fields. Your calls-to-action should be loud and clear.
4 - Assure Them of Security:
Mobile customers are wary of security when accessing mobile e-commerce websites. Counter this by partnering with companies that provide safe transactions, display your security certificates produly, reassure your customers and provide links for more information. You don't want to lose a customer because he felt "fishy" about your site.
5 - Single Account for All Devices:
Each customer should have one account for your e-commerce website whether they log in from a desktop or mobile devices. Their shopping cart should be accessible from anywhere otherwise there's no point in providing another channel for communication.
6 - Test It:
In the development world, we can never say this enough: test your site. Since more than one customers will be using your website, ask more than one people to test your website. Make sure there are no heavy files that reduce loading time, that your website's design doesn't get warped on different screen sizes and that the experience is consistent throughout the site.
These are just some of the tips to get you started on optimising your e-commerce website for mobile. You also have to provide easy navigation. Do a bench marking survey and figure out how the top retail brands (like Amazon and ebay) are providing mobile services. If you have any questions or other tips coming to mind, let us know in the comments below or tweet to us @CygnisMedia