February 24, 2011, 3:41 PM

Design mobile commerce sites for purchasing as well as perusing

Mobile commerce isn’t always necessarily about buying

 

Retailers far too often think of mobile commerce narrowly. In my view the “commerce” in the mobile realm is a broad term that doesn’t necessarily include making a purchase.

Consumers are finally warming to surfing the web on a mobile device and that means visiting m-commerce sites (Hurray!). But a good portion aren’t ready to make considered purchases yet from their phones. That means it’s just as important for mobile retailers to design their sites for the window shoppers who may later head home to their PCs to buy as for the mobile shoppers comfortable purchasing from their smartphones.

Web only retailer Music Factory Direct is one merchant with the right mobile frame of mind. In designing its mobile site last year, it made mobile wish lists a top priority so that shoppers who may not want to shell out $1,500 for a Gibson Les Paul guitar can save their favorite model and access it from a PC at home.

Early research is showing shoppers are using Music Factory Direct’s mobile site to browse—a lot. The total number of page views per shopper on the mobile site is 22% higher than on the e-commerce site, the retailer says, and the bounce rate for the  mobile site is 10% less than its e-commerce site. A bounce is a visitor arriving at a web site and leaving after only one page view.

Toolfetch also is thinking in broader mobile terms than just buying. In fact, the retailer has yet to add purchasing capabilities to its mobile site. While those are coming soon, the retailer first focused on adding features specifically for the mobile consumer who is on the go—perhaps even standing in a competitor’s store.

Toolfetch recently enabled consumers to chat live with a ToolFetch.com associate via its mobile site. “This is very useful if a customer is at a big box store and wants to double-check stock and pricing with a ToolFetch.com agent before purchasing from us,” Andrew Brown, co-founder and CEO of Toolfetch.com says.

And, while it may seem obvious, the mobile realm is a perfect spot to display the time-saving features you’ve worked so hard to develop for your e-commerce site. Mobile shoppers are often in a hurry and in an awkward place such as crammed between two strangers on the subway. So be sure to add features such as access to stored shipping and billing information or one-click reordering to your mobile site as well. You can cut in other areas such as blogs, forums or how-to-guides, but don’t leave out features that make shopping faster and easier. Those are important in e-commerce and they are critical in m-commerce.

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