Mobile commerce means providing your customers with a way of processing a transaction using a mobile device. But why is this important? That is a common question – after all, many Irish businesses are only now coming to grips with ecommerce (giving customers the opportunity to make purchases on a desktop website). Is mobile commerce really that crucial?
In many circumstances the answer is yes. Here are some reasons:
- Upwards of 50 percent of consumers make purchases online using mobile devices exclusively
- Up to two thirds of online purchases start on a mobile device before being completed later on a computer
- Google has released an update to the way it ranks websites on search pages. The update means it is now placing significantly higher emphasis on mobile usability.
Of course not all businesses can benefit from mobile commerce, just like not all businesses can benefit from ecommerce. But if you are a retailer, or you already sell products online through your website, mobile commerce presents a significant opportunity. If you develop a mobile commerce solution, search engines are more likely to send traffic your way. And, as you can see from the statistics, there are large numbers of people choosing to use mobile devices when making buying decisions.
So, ultimately, mobile commerce can help you to make more sales and increase your revenue. When set up properly this can be done without affecting margins. In fact you can increase your profit per sale because the cost of processing an online sale through a customer’s mobile device should be lower than making the sale face-to-face.
Making Mobile Commerce Work
There are several things that you need to think about when making your ecommerce solution mobile friendly.
Type of solution
The first step is to decide on the best solution. The main options you have are:
- Responsive website
- Mobile website
- Mobile app
A responsive website takes your current website and dynamically changes the layout depending on the size of the user’s screen. This is preferred option of Google and the other search engines. It means you only have one website to update and maintain, which saves time. The downside is that it involves a complete redevelopment of your website if it is not already mobile friendly.
A mobile website is a separate site from your desktop website. There are many tools available that allow you to set this up quickly and cheaply, but it means you have two websites to maintain.
Mobile apps give you the flexibility to build the functionality that you want, but they do not show in search results when customers search for products or services.
Once you have decided on the type of website you should set some parameters for your developer in terms of design.
- The website should fit the horizontal width of any screen. Vertical scrolling is okay, but your users should never have to scroll horizontally.
- Links should be spaced out to make it easier for fingers to tap the correct ones
- The text size should be clear and big enough to read on small screens without the need to zoom
- Everything should work
- The website should load fast
Finally, you should look at the usability of your mobile commerce solution:
- Navigation should be simple and your products should be quick and easy to find
- The checkout process should be secure and trustworthy
- The checkout process should also be easy and quick to complete
The checkout process is a good way of getting customer information which can help with your marketing efforts, but you need to weigh that up with making the process as easy as possible. The fewer fields your customers have to fill out, and question to answer, the better.
Doing these things will give you an advantage over your competitors, increase your SEO, and make it easier for customers to make a buying decision and complete their transaction.