A whopping 96 percent of Americans now shop online, according to research cited in RetailingToday— and a significant percentage of that shopping is mobile. More than four in 10 people shop while in bed, 20 percent shop while in the car and 20 percent shop while in the bathroom (TMI?). What do shoppers look for in a mobile website design, and what motivates them to buy from you? Here’s what you need to know.
- Customers want a mobile-friendly website. Smartphone users care more about a mobile-friendly website than tablet users do, probably because tablets have bigger screens, reports a Nielsen survey of mobile shoppers.
- Customers want product reviews. About 45 percent of both smartphone and tablet users in the Nielsen survey say it’s important to be able to read product reviews before making a purchase.
- Customers want product descriptions. Some 45 percent of both smartphone and tablet users want to see product descriptions on a mobile device.
- Customers are concerned about website security — but not as much as you might think. Just 31 percent of smartphone users and 36 percent of tablet users say security is an important factor in mobile shopping.
What do customers care about most? The number-one factor on both smartphones and tablets is the ability to see product pictures — cited by about two-thirds of survey respondents.
Customers’ least favorite part of shopping online is not being able to touch, feel or try products before hand; nearly half of customers complained about this factor. No wonder that product descriptions, reviews and, most of all, photos matter so much.
What can you do to keep mobile shoppers happy?
- Make sure your website is mobile-friendly. Sure, some shoppers are willing to struggle with a desktop website on a mobile device — but why slow them down or frustrate them?
- Include product reviews. Encourage your customers to write reviews by sending follow-up emails after they receive their orders. Also provide guidelines for writing reviews — for example, if you sell clothing, reviews that mention fit or fabric quality will be useful for other customers considering a purchase. You can use a star or sliding scale rating system to simplify review-writing and get more reviews.
- Provide quality product photos — multiple photos, if appropriate. While photos should be sized small enough to load quickly on mobile devices, the ability to see products from multiple angles, zoom in or even view video can help make the sale.
- Include detailed product descriptions. When customers can’t touch or feel a product in person, product descriptions gain more importance. If manufacturers’ product descriptions are inadequate, consider adding more detail. Product specs matter too—offering information such as dimensions, weight, fabric content and the size of the package a product is shipped in can make the difference between making the sale and losing it.
What don’t mobile shoppers care about? Only about 10 percent of both smartphone and tablet users say it’s important for a retailer to have a mobile app — good news for small business owners who may not want the cost of developing and promoting an app. A mobile-friendly website is really all you need.
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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.