How to Create a Great Mobile Holiday Shopping Experience
It’s that time of year: Consumers will soon be searching for the perfect holiday gift, and more and more of them are now shopping on mobile. The mobile segment of e-commerce has been on the rise for the last few years, and Business Insider predicts that it will make up 45 percent of the total U.S. e-commerce market by 2020.
Given that most of us will readily admit to using our mobile phones to search for, compare, and review products, this number could be even higher — if retail marketers are willing to make a few small tweaks to improve the mobile shopping experience in time for the holidays.
But what makes for a great mobile retail experience? Following a few best practices in site design and online payment can help you capture mobile researchers and convert them into mobile purchasers.
Aim for a Short Funnel
Your customers should not have to make it through five or six pages of your website to purchase a product. Just think about the load time for each of those pages for someone with so-so WiFi or cell reception and you’ll see why the Internet is littered with abandoned carts. Make sure they can get to that confirmation page in as few steps as possible — I recommend two to three at most.
Keep Your Content Simple
Yes, you need product details, so don’t cut crucial information. Simply present it in direct, straightforward language. Small screen size means mobile websites can’t take a lot of fluff. Say it with fewer words, and make sure your font is large enough to read on any device. Font size shouldn’t be an issue as long as your website is responsive (meaning it adapts to the viewer’s screen size rather than forcing them to zoom in). Still, too much content can mean endless scrolling, so keep it short and sweet.
Dedicate Resources to SEO
The best thing about holiday shoppers is that you know they are actively searching. What’s better than someone typing the product you’re promoting plus your location into Google? Someone typing the product you’re promoting plus your location into Google when you’ve incorporated the perfect topical keyword clusters into your site’s content. SEO is both an art and a science, so make sure you’ve studied up on the latest recommendations or employed an expert before totally overhauling your content. And remember No. 2: Don’t bloat your content in the name of SEO, because the search algorithms are onto keyword stuffers and favor real, useful information these days.
Mark Up Your Products
Just as important as the customer-facing content on your website is the way your code talks to search engines. Make sure your products are marked up correctly on the backend so that important information like the product name, price, and rating can be surfaced to customers in their search results, particularly in image searches. For more on how to do a product markup, see Google’s guidelines.
Put Your Data to Use
Today’s shoppers expect a personalized browsing experience. Use the data you have about the people on your site, where they came from, and their history with your company to provide customized recommendations and tailored promotions. Use it to help match customers with the perfect gift, and they’ll remember you not just because you met a need, but also because you delighted them in the process.
Optimize for Speed
Mobile shoppers will not wait for file-heavy pages to load. To keep potential customers from saying, “I guess I’ll just remember to check this out on desktop later” and bouncing, there’s a lot you can do increase the speed of your site. Start with the low-hanging fruit: optimize your image sizes and clean up your code.
Make Payment Easy
Payment should be as close to one-touch as possible. Don’t guide your customer all the way to the final step in the process only to put hurdles in their way. I’m looking at all those sites that require users to register in order to make a purchase. If your end goal is to make a sale, let customers check out as a guest and allow them to use browser autocomplete features if they want to.
Show You’re Serious About Security
Well, first you’ve got to actually be serious about security. If you’re using a third-party processor for payment, do your research and go with a reputable one. Then, show your customers you care about keeping their data safe by displaying your security credentials, making sure your site uses HTTPS, and — this last part is key — only asking for data that you actually need to fulfill the purchase.
Now is the time to implement these best practices if you want to capture the holiday phone browsers, but following these guidelines will improve your customers’ mobile shopping experiences year-round, too. And, in the end, it really all comes down to the one thing that we as marketers should keep in mind at all times: make it easy for your audience to find what they are looking for.
Sarah Mannone is the Executive Vice President of Trekk, a tech-driven creative services agency. She works with Trekk clients to develop strategic marketing plans and craft measurable programs that that span print, web, social, and mobile. As part of the Trekk management team, Sarah is involved in the decisions and strategy around adopting new technologies and applications to meet the current and future needs of Trekk clients. Sarah is a member of the Forbes Agency Council and a frequent speaker at marketing industry events.