Let’s face it – Smartphones and the people who love them are here to stay. I know it, you know it, everybody knows it. We have been using our smartphones to purchase apps for years now, so why not let customers buy everything else?!
For Demac Media, a Canadian eCommerce company, this is integral to help position our clients for future growth. And surely enough, we’re excited to announce that we have started our first mobile eCommerce project! It was only a matter of time before getting there. It’ll be interesting to see our front-end and back-end developers master yet another Magento feature, and quite a robust one at that. Of course, new target platforms/devices means new strategies. Not only design wise but accessibility and functionality as well.
It is also important to be aware of all the different factors that will affect the final results. They will vary depending on target audience’s age, interests and needs, what kind of device they’re using and what goods the store offers. For our clients, having a mobile eCommerce site could seem risky at first glance; it requires a fair bit of investment but one that most definitely returns big revenue in the end. As long as they follow rock solid competent eCommerce practices that is.
Here are a few tips we recommend:
1. Have that ‘precious’ share button
If computer websites have it then there’s no reason to skip it on mobile. Social media links are a must if you want the word of mouth effect to work for your store, so make them accessible and seemless by having them on your home page and product pages as well. The goal is to maximize your online exposure. With these links your customers will do all the advertising for you. For example, if someone shares a link for a product from your online store on Facebook, an average of 200 people will see it in their news feed, (depending on how popular this person is) at the very least one of those people will re-share that link to that product and expose it to another 200 people, and so the chain goes. Multiply your results by adding Twitter, Pinterest and others. Needless to say, a good SEO strategy will help boost your site’s ranking in search engines.
2. Remember it’s a hand held device
With the absence of a mouse, good ol’ thumbs and fingers are the only way to browse, and they’re a lot less accurate than a cursor. Keep in mind the KISS approach (Keep It Simple Stupid) leave enough room for thumbs, don’t crowd your screen with buttons, and do have big, clear pictures of your products since most people are visual shoppers.
The search bar will become the most important feature on your site, it wouldn’t hurt to leave it on every page; trust me, users will want to keep coming back to it. Think about load time as well, your customers will most likely be anywhere other than in a quiet room, there will be distractions all around them and they will most likely be on the go. The longer the load time the more customers you fail to engage. Last but not least, purchasing process should be quick and simple too.
3. Be flexible and ready for change
Responsive design is a key factor. Especially since the hand held device will not always be a phone, tablets are catching up. You need your site to work on any screen resolution available.
Customer Service is not only meant for Starbucks! There is no denying the importance of great quality customer service. Today more and more customers want to be able to engage in real time conversations via the internet. Just look at Zappos.com and their delivery of top-notch customer service via Twitter.
Think about the future, stay up to date, follow new trends. Mobile devices are being upgradedeachyear, what’s on demand today could be obsolete tomorrow. For example, one of the newest trends is side navigation, check it out here. Demac Media is committed to staying in an ever-ready state of alert regarding new eCommerce trends. We highly recommend you follow this practice too!
It might surprise you to hear how small mobile shopping actually is at the moment. Only 10% of the population are heavy mobile shoppers, 40% are light mobile shoppers, 40% don’t use their mobiles to shop and the last 10% don’t even own a mobile phone. But this is far away from meaning that having a mobile site for your store is a bad idea. Did you know eBay’s iPhone app generated $400 million dollars in 2010 alone? It is predicted that by 2015 mobile purchases will total $119 billion globally! Don’t miss out! **
We have taken a quick look at what our partner Magento has to offer with its default eCommerce mobile version and saying “they know what they’re doing” would be considered an understatement. It did not disappoint us in the least, Magento follows all the best practices as expected, and we can’t wait to start working on and developing our first mobile site.
If you’re interested in effective mobile e-commerce designs, there’s 10 of them here.