The joy of smartphones is their versatility. Apart from making calls and sending SMS messages, users can listen to and view media, take high-quality photos, make instant payments at checkouts and online purchases. That versatility has presented an enormous range of opportunities for businesses of all kinds.
Purchases of goods and services via mobile devices is predicted to total some $50 billion by the end of the year. To gain the maximum benefit of the growing popularity of mobile shopping your online business must be fully prepared.
To ensure ease of access and use by online customers the search engines are now prioritizing responsive website designs with fast load times and mobile usability, so there is every reason to invest in bringing your site up to date by ensuring the pages display correctly on small screens.
Mobile technology has the potential to bridge the gap between in-store and online shopping, adding functionality and improving customer service while driving sales. Customers use their phones to find real-world store locations and opening hours, search for deals, sales and coupons, and for product information. They may photograph products to “save and think about” or share with an advisor, and even place orders and make a purchase directly via the mobile device.
Mobile optimization allows shoppers to take advantage of downtime or to shop while on the go, browsing deals, taking care of purchasing chores, making leisure purchases and noting products for later research and purchase. Surprisingly, purchases can often span two or more devices or formats. A customer may browse in-store or check tangible product specs in a “showroom” environment, view special offers and do additional research on a smartphone or tablet, and then pick up the research to finally make a purchase from their PC.
One of the challenges of mobile optimization for shoppers is serving these variable use cases effectively. Are your customers more interested in comparing products, browsing for something to catch their eye, searching and making a quick purchase, or doing detailed research?
The first step to boosting the impact of mobile on your sales is to make it easier for customers to access what you have to offer. Responsive design, where page elements adjust based on screen size and orientation, is currently preferred over dedicated apps. Mobile-first sites, where a custom experience has been designed for shoppers on mobile devices, are also growing in popularity.
At the same time, it’s important to ensure a consistent customer experience when they interact with you, regardless of platform. Your branding needs to carry through, and product images and titles should remain the same so customers don’t feel disoriented when moving from one device to another. Strive to make their experience seamless by carrying through search history and cart items where permitted.
Many successful companies have prioritized getting their sites fully optimized for use on mobile devices. Take a look at the smooth performing www.asseenontvstore.com; the site is slick to use whether you visit on a full laptop or desktop browser, tablet or smartphone. Responsive design and mobile-first features on the mobile versions make for a good customer experience. Graphics, such as an ad slider, are served in vertical instead of horizontal format. Large, clearly delineated buttons make it easy to navigate and make purchases. Menus are clearly marked, but are collapsed to declutter the experience without losing functionality. Action items in general take first position on the page, while additional details are available, but moved down the page for convenience.
Keeping up with the continuous evolution of technologies, best practices and customer preferences can be a challenge. Start by imagining, researching and testing your customer’s preferred uses to optimize your mobile experience to best serve their needs and, by extension, your bottom line. Consider implementing responsive design and mobile-first design features to make sure your customers have a great experience on every device.