Mobile shopping has long been one of my guilty pleasures. Who can resist the instant gratification of making a purchase mere seconds after seeing it on your Instagram feed? Or scrolling on your phone, in the neverending New in section of the Asos app? I feel safe in this space—these apps know what I like, and seem to have the “magical” ability to show me exactly what I’m looking for. Plus, I don’t have to put down my phone, let alone leave my house, to shop.
Mobile shopping is slowly, but surely, taking over ecommerce. According to the latest retail report for 2020, “ecommerce sales are expected to grow by 12.8% to $666.28 billion” in the US alone. By 2022, half of these sales will be driven by mobile commerce.
If you want to have a profitable online business in 2020, optimizing your store for mobile isn’t a choice—it’s a must. After all, mobile shoppers are only 2.51% behind desktop shoppers in conversions. Looking at today’s trends though, it seems like it won’t be long until mobile shopping comes out on top.
In this blog, I’ll walk you through the ins and outs of mobile commerce—the trends we keep seeing, the advantages of going mobile, as well as the challenges to look out for. I’ll also be sharing tips on how to successfully optimize your business for a seamless mobile experience. Let’s get started!
We all know of ecommerce—a monetary transaction made online, whether it’s shopping, banking, or selling. Mobile commerce is exactly that, only done on a mobile device. This makes mobile commerce an extension, or a large subset, of ecommerce. Think of it as ecommerce’s ambitious firstborn.
You’re probably using mobile commerce in your day-to-day life already—as an e-ticket for a concert, or a wireless payment method at your local coffee shop. Or, like me, you use mobile apps to refresh your wardrobe.
Point is, mobile commerce is taking over. More than 3.5 billion people use smartphones, and that number is only growing. Now more than ever, your ecommerce customers will be interacting on your website from their phone or tablet, and it’s your responsibility to create a mobile experience that will be enjoyable and safe for them.
Mobile commerce covers a growing variety of transactions that can be put in three categories:
Mobile banking: Standing in line at an actual bank is a thing of the past. Most banks now offer secure online account access from your phone in just one swipe. In fact, around 2 billion people will be using mobile banking by the end of this year.
Mobile payments: This includes any payment made via your mobile device—whether it’s scanning a barcode in a payment app instead of swiping a credit card at a grocery store, or Venmo-ing your share of the dinner bill to your friend.
Mobile shopping: From clothing to furniture and basic household items like toilet paper, any shopping you desire can be done from mobile-optimized websites, apps, and recently, even some social media platforms.
I’ll be focusing on this type of mobile commerce—mobile shopping—from here on out.
Let’s look at the numbers and trends of mobile commerce:
The biggest advantage mobile commerce has over ecommerce is accessibility. Our phone is with us way more often than our laptop, so customers can shop whenever and wherever they are—even while standing in a checkout line at a brick and mortar store.
The five biggest benefits of mobile commerce for business owners are:
A website fully optimized for mobile shopping or a mobile app gives customers a fast and convenient shopping experience, straight on their phone—better than what they might get in person.
If you have a shopping app, you can offer customers exclusive in-app deals. Retailers like H&M and Asos often use this tactic to push people to shop and better their app downloads. Plus, you can give app users exclusive access to sales and new collections!
Social media apps like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest have recently introduced buy buttons that let customers shop without leaving the app.
Some retailers are also offering one-click checkout options, where you enter your payment details once, and the website remembers it for easier purchases in the future.
Mobile commerce allows sending push notifications straight to your customers’ phone, which is with them at most times. Push notifications can inform shoppers about new product launches, promotions, and more. For example, the Asos shopping app (can you guess from this article that I’m a huge fan?) sends you a push notification each time an item you’re interested in is back in stock in your size.
This year alone, ecommerce sales are expected to grow by a whopping 19%. Mobile commerce is part of this growth, comprising over a quarter of total ecommerce sales in 2019. That’s more than double since 2015.
However, for every pro, there’s a con. Here are some challenges you may experience when optimizing your business for mobile.
Optimization never stops
Developing and managing your mobile presence is a constant work in progress, especially for recently formed businesses. Technology never stops. And to offer the best possible mobile experience for your customers, you’ll need to keep track of developments and changes in mobile technologies and find ways to implement them in your own business.
Safety concerns from users
According to Forbes, last holiday season, 75% of online shopping was done on a mobile device but only around 40% converted to a sale. While bad customer usability plays a role in this gap, users are more concerned about their privacy when making a purchase on a mobile device.
Make sure you are PCI (short for Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) compliant and work with a payment processor that monitors fraudulent activity. You also want to ensure that you know exactly how many of your business partners access and use consumer data. To put your customers at ease about the safety of your website, create an FAQ where you answer their concerns.
Now that you understand the power and potential of mobile commerce, here are a few things you should consider when optimizing your business for mobile.
Check out Google’s free Mobile-Friendly Test
In mere seconds, this free tool allows you to test how easily a visitor can use your page on a mobile device. Enter your website’s URL, and Google will analyze whether or not your website is mobile-friendly. The test can identify usability errors like incompatible plugins, small font sizes, and others. You also get a list of tips on how to improve your website and make it more mobile -friendly.
Create a mobile version of your current site…
Conversion platforms like Duda Mobile allow you to easily build a mobile version of your website (not to be confused with a mobile app). Just keep in mind that having both desktop and mobile versions of your site means having to tend to two separate websites. So make sure both versions are updated accordingly, as users may get frustrated if they find less content available on the desktop version versus the mobile.
…or use plugins to modify your existing site for mobile
WordPress’ WPtouch plugin, for example, will automatically add a custom mobile theme for your mobile visitors of your WordPress website. It will instantly enable a mobile-friendly version of your website that passes Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test, and will ensure your SEO rankings are in good shape.
Improve load time
App or site loading speed should be one of your top priorities when optimizing your business for mobile. High page speed betters user experience, and helps put your page higher in organic search results.
To improve your page speed, start by optimizing image sizes, sticking to standard image formats like JPG, PNG, and GIF, reducing cookie size, and reviewing your cache settings.
Build a website with responsive design
Chances are you know what it’s like to view a desktop version of a website on your mobile—one of those sad, scrunched down, pages that are hard to navigate and use.
Responsive design aims to solve this problem: it creates a unified system across all types of devices, whether it’s a desktop, a smartphone, or a tablet. Your website will be easy to use, look good, and work on any device, at any resolution.
Website builders like Webflow allow you to easily create responsive personal blogs and ecommerce stores without writing a line of code. When building your website with their Designer tool, you can check how it’ll look on four different devices—that way you can adjust your content and design choices to create a flawless user experience, no matter the device!
Offer a variety of mobile payment options
The number of mobile payment solutions is growing, so offering customers a diverse range of payment methods will help with customer retention. Popular mobile payment solutions include PayPal One-Touch, Apple Pay, and Amazon Pay.
Mobile commerce offers endless opportunities for business owners. Now’s the time to encourage customers to shop your merchandise on their mobile devices by creating easy-to-use apps and websites with responsive design.
Take it from a seasoned shopper like me: when it comes to mobile commerce, user experience is everything. So keep up with the trends, and make sure you’re offering a speedy checkout. Put effort into developing a meaningful mobile experience—it will drive shoppers to you, and will keep them coming back for more!
Diana is a content marketing specialist at Printful with an interest in all things marketing, ecommerce, and social media trends.