As the holiday shopping season winds down, experts are still toting up the numbers to see how good (or bad) a year it was. But one thing’s for sure: Mobile commerce or m-commerce is accounting for an ever-larger percentage of online shopping.
According to Internet Retailer, mobile commerce sales already account for almost one-third of all ecommerce sales in the United States. That’s up from slightly less than one-fourth in 2014. Large retail chains are actively pursuing mobile shoppers by developing apps and streamlining their existing websites for easy mobile access and purchase. If your small business doesn’t take steps to get into the mobile commerce game, you could be left behind.
True, even ecommerce only accounts for about 6 percent of total global retail sales, but the growth of online shopping is projected to continue growing steadily, with mobile commerce making up a bigger and bigger part. As mobile wallets become more widely accepted in the coming years, it’s a fair bet that mobile commerce will become more popular along with them.
So what do consumers want when it comes to mobile commerce? The key word is seamless. Shoppers want to be able to start browsing for products on one computer or device, and continue later on a different device without having to start all over again. They also want the same levels of customer service on their mobile devices as they would get on a computer.
What are some ways you can make it easier for your customers to shop and buy on mobile devices?
- Think mobile-first. Simple menus using icons instead of lengthy descriptions translate easily from desktop to smartphone use. Take a hard look at your ecommerce site. How could it be simplified?
- Consider a mobile app. If large percentage of your customers are heavy mobile users, such as moms or Millenials, or if your website offers a large product selection that can be overwhelming to browse and search, a mobile app that’s even more streamlined than a mobile friendly website could be a worthwhile solution. A great example of this is ecommerce retailer Zappos, which offers millions of products but somehow makes them simple to sort through on a tablet or phone using the Zappos mobile app.
- Enable detailed filtering and sorting. Searches that return tens of thousands of results will cause most shoppers to drop their smartphones in frustration. Enable filtering by brand, color, size, features, price, product line and more depending on what you sell. The more filters you can offer, the more easily shoppers can narrow their searches and limit the time spent squinting at a tiny screen.
- Offer registration, but don’t require it. Registering on your website can make mobile shopping easier for frequent shoppers by saving their account and payment information. But not everyone wants to go to the trouble of registering, especially if they don’t shop on your website often. Offer a choice so you’ll give customers the best of both worlds.
- Emphasize security. Many customers are nervous about making payments on mobile devices, so if you want to encourage M-commerce, your payment processing systems and data security must be up to the highest standards. Keep your systems up to date and let customers know what steps you take to protect their data.
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Karen Axelton is Chief Content Officer of GrowBiz Media, a media company that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. Visit her company’s blog at SmallBizDaily.com.