Posted by Manoj Tiwari
2012 was a record-breaking year in mobile e-commerce. Last Black Friday (the day following Thanksgiving and is considered as the start of the shopping season in the US), mobile sales accounted for 16.3% of all online purchases according to IBM. Additionally, 24% of all consumers accessed a brand’s site using their mobile device.
These numbers are just the tip of the iceberg. Clearly, mobile e-commerce website development is something businesses should seriously consider if they want to succeed in the lucrative mobile retail space.
Just like anything in internet marketing, not all mobile e-commerce sites are created equal – there are those that stand out and those that fade in the background. If you are thinking of taking the first step to develop e-commerce website for mobile, here are the seven key components of highly effective e-commerce sites specifically crafted for the on-the-go consumer.
- A Prominently Situated Search Box
The first thing you need to keep in mind when developing e-commerce sites or any sites for that matter for mobile devices is ease of use. Consumers behave differently when they are using their smartphones or tablets versus if they are using their desktops or laptops. Chances are, when they are shopping using their smartphones or tablets, they are doing something else – whether they are watching TV, waiting for the train, stuck in traffic, etc. That being said, mobile e-commerce development should be centered on being user friendly and one way of doing this is by putting your site’s search box in a prominent location on the page so shoppers can punch in a query with no difficulty. Also, the search box should be incorporated across all pages to enhance accessibility as well.
- Transform Your Consumers into Social Ambassadors
According to the research firm Nielsen, approximately 50% of social media users access their social networks through their mobile gadgets. When you develop an e-commerce website for mobile, do not forget to enable and empower your customers to spread good words about in their social networks. Be creative. Maybe at the end of the checkout process, there could be a window that would ask your satisfied customers to share about their delightful shopping experience to their Facebook friends and Twitter followers.
- Make it Fast
According to an infographic published by Mashable, 40% of mobile shoppers will abandon an e-commerce site does not load in three seconds. Undeniably, the mobile retail business is all about speed and if you want to gain profits, ensure that your site is optimized for mobile surfing. Simplicity is the key. Take out unnecessary elements that will slow your page down. Keep visual elements to the necessary. Further, speed does not only apply to load time, but to the check-out process as well. Make it as convenient and as easy as possible for consumers to complete their shopping. Take down lengthy forms and allow users to save their information the first time they visit your site so they don’t have to go through the process repeatedly.
- Responsive Web Design is a Necessity
During the mobile shopping frenzy last Black Friday, most purchases were carried out using the iPad, followed by the iPhone and followed by Android devices. The point here is mobile shoppers are using different screen with different screen sizes and your site should be able to adjust seamlessly to these varying screen sizes. Mobile e-commerce website development should follow the principles of responsive website design to deliver the best mobile shopping experience your consumers whatever screen size they are using to view your site.
- Design for the Finger, Not for the Mouse
This point may sound mundane, but this one small nuance can spell the difference between a successful and unsuccessful mobile ecommerce site. Many online retailers forget the fact that mobile shoppers don’t have the benefit of using a mouse and are instead using their fingers as their “navigation hardware.” There’s nothing more annoying when a consumer can’t click on a link because the site’s layout is too crowded. Make sure to space out links accordingly to allow users to click using their fingers without difficulty. You can also employ other tools such as drop down menus to ease up navigation.
- Enable Instant Access to Customer Service
You can either develop mobile apps that will enhance your customer service engagement or incorporate certain elements on your e-commerce site to allow your customers to reach your customer service team in a breeze. You can use a clickable phone number, eliminating the need for your customers to dial your customer service hotline. This can also be a clickable email or SMS number. If it will not affect your load speed, you can also use live chat for instantaneous interaction. You can also develop mobile apps that will help your customers track their orders. Do this and your customer will feel well taken-cared of and there’s a higher chance that they will purchase from you again.
- A Forward Thinking Retailer
Lastly, you are probably the most important ingredient when coming up with an effective mobile e-commerce website. Why? Most of the time, business owners are reluctant when it comes to incorporating new technologies to their operations. Mobile e-commerce website development cannot commence if you don’t have the mindset that the retail landscape in vastly and quickly changing because of technological advancements and if you want to cope with these shifts, you need to embrace technology.