With more paths to purchase beginning on consumers’ mobile phones, mobile has quickly become absolutely vital to nearly every retailer’s success. Yet despite this ubiquity, the mobile channel is not likely to be a primary channel for completing sales transactions. Doesn’t seem to make sense, does it? In Parker Avery’s upcoming Point of View, Enhancing mCommerce Capabilities and Customer Experience: Key Considerations, we explore the reasons why these apparently diametric statements actually are increasingly important for retailers to understand. It first begins with an understanding of the difference between how consumers shop vs. how they actually purchase, as well as how today’s shopping journeys are widely and increasingly being initiated on consumers’ mobile devices. The following is an excerpt from an upcoming publication.

The Difference Between Shopping and Buying

When optimizing an eCommerce site for mobile, it is important to understand that the mobile channel is largely becoming the initial, and often primary, “go-to” platform for individuals to connect with a brand. Thus, the task for retailers is not simply to make smaller web pages, but to engage customers and provide exceptional shopping experiences.

The channel should deliver on what customers largely expect: that it will be a place to shop and find product information, which may or may not also be a place to buy. The rate at which consumers are utilizing the mobile channel to shop has increased significantly and will continue to do so. This has incredible implications for designers of mobile sites and applications. The uniqueness, benefits, and limitations of the mobile platform necessitate optimization and tailored content, especially when considering visual elements and text sizes. Shrinking website graphics and advertisements often result in unreadable text, difficult links and ultimately, customer frustration.

Product images should be large and simple, have robust zoom and view options, all while not losing sight of key customer expectations such as product descriptions and reviews, which should also be easy to read and simple to navigate.

While delivering on these customer expectations has numerous benefits, the risks of non-adoption are also surfacing, such as shopping cart abandonment, negative reviews, lost opportunities to capture incremental sales, and customer loss.

To underpin these risks, 73% of customers would end their shopping journey all together after experiencing a poor, non-optimized mobile site, potentially costing a retailer the entire sale. Even more critical, 57% of customers would not recommend a retailer after experiencing a poorly optimized mobile site.

The First Touchpoint of a Shopping Journey 

The next step in understanding mobile-centric customer behavior is identifying where the channel fits in relation to the overall customer journey.

According to Google, a full 65% of customers use a mobile phone as the first stop on their path to purchase before shifting to another medium such as tablet or computer. This places mobile significantly ahead of any other technology as a customer’s first interaction with a product or brand. Customers also react to mobile marketing and coupons at a significantly higher rate, with redemption of SMS-based coupons occurring eight times more often than their emailed counterparts. This realization of mobile as the first step in a customer’s shopping journey should be used to shape the experience and foster seamless integrations to other, more purchase-centric platforms.

Understanding and making this transition as seamless as possible through shopping carts, wish lists, or “send to” functionality not only greatly increases the chances that the customer purchases their entire basket, but also opens up additional marketing opportunities and generates another (albeit non-unique) visit. Once a customer is ready to make the purchase, the focus shifts to making the checkout process as quick and easy as possible (read: short and simple).

With all that being said, it should be clear that having a mobile site, a mobile-optimized site or a mobile app is unavoidable for most retailers. But as many now understand, it’s not as easy as simply making traditional websites smaller with slightly less functionality to fit mobile screens and accessible using only our thumbs. In our next blog post, we’ll talk about some challenges and opportunities to achieving exceptional mobile customer experiences.

– Tricia

Published On: August 25, 2016Categories: Mobile Commerce, Mobile Retail, Tricia Chismer Gustin