There’s a good chance a customer will shop a retailer’s mobile commerce site or app this holiday season. Of the 42% of consumers who own a smartphone, 27% will use their device while shopping for the holidays, according to Deloitte’s 2011 Annual Holiday Survey of 5,000 U.S. consumers.
With that in mind, Endeca Technologies Inc., a provider of site search and online marketing technology, suggests 10 steps retailers can take to ensure their mobile commerce properties perform well.
The first is to keep the site or app simple. “Your user interface should be simple and invite explorations,” Endeca says in a new report. “Expose only the most important content and make sure functionality is useful for someone on the go without access to a computer.”
Retailers also should keep in mind that consumers will use many types of mobile devices to access their m-commerce sites. “If you’re creating a mobile site, realize that users access the mobile web from many platforms, so understanding the devices used by your audience is critical,” Endeca says. Similarly, if an app is planned, smartphones with different operating systems require unique app development. “Educate your team on how mobile sites and apps are rendered in different devices,” the company suggests.
Third, an m-commerce site or app should mirror the retailer’s e-commerce site so it appears familiar to consumers, Endeca advises. “If your mobile environment is familiar to consumers and the shopping process is simple, engagement will be higher,” it says.
Smartphones are all about convenience, something retailers cannot ignore in their m-commerce offerings. To drive adoption, a mobile site or app must offer useful features, such as a one-touch add-to-cart button or the ability to view search results without flipping through pages, Endeca recommends.
The fifth tip is to remember that smartphones are a social device for consumers. “Make it easy for users to evangelize your products for you by writing mobile reviews and enabling them to share their reviews and wish lists with one-touch posting capabilities to sites like Facebook and Twitter,” Endeca says.
Smartphone owners are unforgiving if an app or site does not appear relevant to them, Endeca contends. “The limited time you have to engage mobile users means irrelevant promotions will frustrate them, take up valuable screen real estate and push abandonment,” it says. Avoid that outcome by using customer analytics to craft promotions that appeal to users, the company says.
Forcing customers to fill in long forms during checkout can lead to cart abandonment. Populate the payment screen with as much information as possible from a customer’s existing e-commerce account, such as billing and shipping addresses, Endeca suggests.
A mobile commerce site or app should entice consumers to return; retailers should create a way to motivate consumers to come back with features like a loyalty program or exclusive offers for repeat buyers, Endeca says.
An m-commerce site or app is just one component of a retailer’s strategy for reaching consumers. Don’t ignore the e-commerce site or stores, Endeca says. Tap into a smartphone’s ability to use location-based services to help consumers find the closest store or use 2-D bar codes that link products or signs in stores to mobile web-based content.
Finally, retailers should constantly monitor how consumers change their mobile commerce habits. “Analytic are must-have in the mobile channel, but so is the ability for business teams to use that data to tune the user experience,” Endeca says. Tracking how consumers interact with the m-commerce site or app is crucial, it says.