SkuVault and ChannelAdvisor work together to help you manage your products throughout every step of the e-commerce process — from marketplace to warehouse. Start designing your mobile site today, and we’ll be here to help when you need us. This guest post by our inventory management partner SkuVault discusses the recent trends in mobile commerce and provides tips on how to redesign your website for mobile shoppers.
“The only thing that is constant is change.” So said Greek philosopher Heraclitus. Sure, he was talking about the nature of life, but the same sentiment could also apply to retail.
The needs and demands of buyers are changing, and retailers are adapting their storefronts to accommodate those needs. Brick-and-mortar retail has evolved into online retail. And more recently, e-commerce retailers are adapting their websites to fit the needs of mobile shoppers — thus the birth of m-commerce, or mobile commerce. At SkuVault, we have seen the mobile sales of our clients continue to grow throughout the years, and studies confirm that the recent trend isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
According to Criteo’s Q1 2015 State of Mobile Commerce Report, mobile accounts for 29% of e-commerce transactions in the US and 34% globally. In both Japan and South Korea, mobile sales are over 50% of all e-commerce transactions. Clearly, if you’re not catering to mobile shoppers, you risk losing sales to competitors that are. We’ve made a list of what we think are the five most helpful tips to keep in mind when redesigning your online store for mobile shoppers.
1. Mini Doesn’t Mean Mobile
Retailers often confuse the term “mobile” with the term “mini.” Simply scaling your website down to fit on various devices is only the first step. You’ve surely encountered a website that, when viewing from a mobile device, must constantly be pinched to zoom in and out in order to read text. This is not how an optimized mobile website should function. If viewers are constantly working to zoom in, pinch and scroll to read text, they’ll quickly grow frustrated with the layout and begin browsing other sites that are easier to navigate.
When designing your mobile site, consider your own experiences with browsing on your smartphone. Think of the expectations you have for websites that you visit frequently and put yourself in the shoes of mobile shoppers.
2. More Content = Slower Load Speeds
Your mobile website should in no way be an exact replica of your online store. Shoppers want the same user-friendly experience that your desktop website offers, but including all the same features may cause longer load times on mobile devices. You want customers to be able to recognize your mobile site and draw connections between the mobile site and your desktop-formatted site.
But the mobile version must be more streamlined and to the point. Videos, high-resolution photos and PDFs are just a few items that’ll cause your mobile site to become bogged down. Because of data networks and poor Wi-Fi connections, mobile phones aren’t going to be able to load as quickly as desktop computers. You want to make load times as fast as possible for mobile users. If they constantly have to wait for multiple pages to load when checking out, they’ll surely be deterred from your site. A smaller screen should feature only the most important information.
3. Consider the Needs of Your Customers
When designing your mobile website, think about the wants and needs of mobile shoppers and how they may differ from shoppers using a desktop or tablet. Mobile shoppers are often on the go and know exactly what they’re looking for. Desktop and tablet shoppers tend to shop more leisurely from their desk or sofa. Unlike desktop or tablet shoppers, mobile shoppers don’t necessarily have the time to sit and compare items or read product descriptions. They want to view the item, view the price and check out.
So give your customers what they want. Offer a guest checkout system that doesn’t require them to register with your website right away. Filling out tedious contact information from a phone is never fun. Allow them to register later when they’re sitting at their computer. Be sure that a product search bar, store locator and checkout button are clearly visible for mobile viewers. These are three tools that customers will most likely be looking for.
4. Design with Fat Fingers in Mind
This is in no way an insulting design concept. You want your website to be easily viewed and navigated by everyone. If you design your mobile website with larger fingers in mind, it simply means it can be navigated by everyone. Reiterating the above point, forcing customers to pinch and zoom to access small buttons and links is one of the quickest ways to deter shoppers from your mobile site.
5. Streamline the Shopping Experience and Simplify the Checkout
From the moment your customers arrive at your homepage, you want them to be able to begin shopping. Clearly display products or product categories directly on the homepage. Mobile shoppers aren’t coming to your site to browse — they’re likely there with the intention to purchase. So don’t make them work to spend their money.
Also, make calls to action direct and clearly visible. For example, rather than a less conspicuous “add to cart” button, consider creating a prominent “buy now” button. This makes the call to action direct and doesn’t force your customers to click through several links to get to the checkout page. Get them shopping and get them to the checkout. That’s the goal here: streamline and simplify.
Follow these steps and you’ll surely see an uptick in your mobile sales. At SkuVault, once we began to design a mobile version of our inventory management software, we saw a tremendous increase in both mobile utilization and customer retention. Once your mobile sales begin to steadily increase, we hope you’ll consider ChannelAdvisor to manage all your online marketplaces and SkuVault to manage your inventory.
Blog post by Aaron Mikel, marketing assistant, SkuVault