Mobile searches have surpassed desktop-based searches, which mean majority of web traffic comes from on-the-go devices. If your business involves selling products and services online, you have to get updated with the times, switch to mobile, and get your store ready for mcommerce.
But, what is Mcommerce, Exactly?
Unlike ecommerce that involves shopping online through websites via your computer, mcommerce (m-commerce) is done through a mobile device, such as a smartphone, tablet, etc.
As a business owner, you may think that this change is insignificant, but you have to look at these numbers to understand the need for an ecommerce-to-mcommerce upgrade:
According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau and comScore:
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• E-commerce will continue to grow and take a larger portion of U.S. retail sales
• As e-commerce grows, so will m-commerce
• M-commerce made 11.6% of the $303 billion U.S. sales in 2014
• In mid-2015, U.S. adults spent 59% of their time on mobile and only 41% on desktop, but only 15% shopped via mobile compared to the 85% who shopped on their PCs.
BI Intelligence, Business Insider’s premium research service, made a forecast that:
• Mcommerce is expected to reach $248 billion by 2020
• Mcommerce is expected to take 45% of the U.S. ecommerce market by 2020
Based on data provided by a LexisNexis study involving 1,000 ecommerce merchants:
• 16% of respondents already have mcommerce in place
• 32% of respondents plans to add mcommerce sometime in 2017
• 80% of big ecommerce retailers (with $50m+ in annual sales) either already have mcommerce, or has plans to add mcommerce.
Forrester predicts the potential of mcommerce, stating that:
• By the end of 2018, 55% of smartphone users and 61% of tablet users are going to shop from their devices
Mcommerce isn’t exactly replacing ecommerce (but merchants are adding mobile-friendly versions of their online shops to prepare for the bright future of mcommerce.
Mcommerce is the next logical step for online stores, and technological advances are providing ways to make the shift easier for businesses. However, there are still a lot of problems that need fixing. In general, shopping via mobile device in mid-2017 is a frustrating experience because of:
• Smartphone issues – The small screen of smartphones are not really ideal for shopping, mostly because you can’t check items in greater detail. Keypads on mobile devices are also a pain to use, so typing in payment information can be hard.
• Online store issues – Mobile device incompatibility with ecommerce become more noticeably when online stores are not mobile-optimized. This means that it requires more effort to shop via phone/tablet, which can be discouraging to buyers.
• Connection issues – Mobile users rely on LTE or Wi-Fi connections to go online, which mean connection issues could affect the speed of mobile shopping.
• Security issues – Buyers feel that entering PayPal information, bank account numbers, or credit card details on mobile devices is less secure compared to PCs.
Phone manufacturers, social media, retailers, and other players in the mobile device industry are slowly addressing these problems. But as a business owner, your company can also help improve user shopping experience with mcommerce. Here’s how:
5 Tips to Make Your Store Mcommerce-Ready
1. Switch to a Responsive Design
One of the best ways to adapt to mobile shopping is to revamp an online store’s design. When you talk about responsive design, it refers to how the site can easily adapt as a site visitor switches to another device (to/from desktop, laptop, mobile phone, tablets, etc.) and adjust image sizes, resolution, script-based capabilities and other site elements.
In the store owners’ perspective, a responsive design is easier to edit because it requires only a single change to reflect the look on all devices. Plus, it’s search engine-friendly too! For the buyers, buttons, menu, navigation and overall shopping experience improves with a responsive design.
2. Use CDN to Improve Page Load Speed
Online store owners have no control over the buyers’ Wi-Fi or LTE connections, but they can help improve the speed of page loads on their own store by using CDN (content delivery network). A CDN works by caching site resources like scripts and images in various servers worldwide, which in turn, reduce lag browsers experience when fetching resources from a single server.
3. Optimize For Mobile
Optimizing for mobile simply means that you have to make the user experience of mobile-based shoppers as smoothly as possible. This means adding QR codes, map listing, mobile directory, and other elements that would keep an online store’s layout as simplified as possible. Some very useful things to consider when optimizing for mobile shopping:
• Reduce the amount of text in a page. Replace with easy-to-view images, or infographics.
• Avoid flash at all costs because only a few smartphones support this.
• Only upload images that are necessary (every photo added makes page load slower)
• Never add pop-ups for mobile view, particular those that are hard to close.
• Provide zoom in/zoom out functionality (for buyers to get a closer look at products for sale)
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4. Fix Navigation
Make sure a buyer can access all pages from the front page of your mcommerce store. Opt for a drop-down menu or submenus, or simple icons on the top of the screen. An advanced search feature should be in place with comprehensive filtering, so that buyers will be able to find what they’re looking for by price, size, color, or other filters.
5. Make it Easy to Register, Log-in and Process Payment
Keep the registration, sign-in and checkout process as hassle-free as possible. Take advantage of how social network accounts can link to online stores, and provide this feature to customers for quick sign-ups and log-ins. Provide an option to save their accounts and payment details, making it easier to buy again from your store (and thus, promoting repeat sales).
And lastly, announce that your mcommerce store offers a secured payment procedure (and mean it). Work or pay for a service to ensure that the security of your customers’ information and financial details is nonstop, even when they don’t return for a second purchase.
Mcommerce is the future of ecommerce, so if your business involves selling products or services, you should be up-to-date with changes that could make or break a sale. In general, if your customers have a hassle-free experience shopping through your mcommerce store, the better sales your business will have.