Mobile Selling: How to Make a Big Impact on a Small Screen

December 19, 2017

When you leave the house, what are the main things you grab? For the majority of us, it’s the “basics” — keys, wallet/purse, the kids (if you have them), and your mobile phone. In today’s world, the mobile phone is like the American Express card… you “don’t leave home without it.”

In the US alone, there are over 125 million consumers with a smartphone. Look down — odds are you have one on your desk, or you may even be reading this on your phone. Smartphones can be used for just about anything nowadays — playing games, streaming your favorite TV shows, listening to your favorite music, letting your friends know what restaurant you’re at and even (gasp) talking to others.  

What you may not realize is how the mobile phone has taken over as the primary source of traffic for e-commerce. Think about it. Odds are we all do it, even if we’re not consciously aware of it. How often do you go into the store, look at an item on the shelf and then whip out your phone to see how much it is on Amazon, or Google it to see if you can find a better price on it elsewhere?  

Eighty percent of consumers use mobile devices while shopping — whether it’s for product research or fully completing the transaction. Mobile accounted for over 50% of traffic and over 40% of all sales revenue during the “Cyber 5” weekend this year. As mobile’s share of e-commerce transactions continues to grow, you must make sure your product listings present well on a mobile device.  

There’s a lot to consider when optimizing your product listings for mobile devices. You have to think about both the marketplace channels and your own webstore (if you have one). Although the options are many, focusing on these four areas will enable you to better tap into this growing segment of the market.

Product Titles

The title is one of the most important components of any product listing. It doesn’t matter if it appears on a desktop, tablet or smartphone. The title is the first chance for shoppers to see what is being offered and helps answer the question of “is this what I’m looking for?”

Good titles consist of the following elements:

  • Brand/Manufacturer
  • Model #
  • Size/Color
  • Relevant Keywords

Most marketplaces will allow as many as 500 characters in the product title — that’s a lot! The key takeaway here is that many channels restrict the number of characters available for display on the mobile listing. So when you’re creating your title, keep it to less than 80 characters and in doing so include the most important pieces of information first.  

A strong title will help your products place higher in search results, providing more visibility and exposure to shoppers.  

Product Descriptions

The title draws the attention, but the description is where you can really begin explaining what the item is, and what makes it special. Most channels will allow upwards of 2,000 characters for a product description. But think about how that would translate to a phone.  Would you want to keep scrolling and scrolling to read the full description? I know I wouldn’t.  

A good product description for a mobile device should be limited to 200-300 characters and written in paragraph form. Most likely, you won’t be able to explain everything about that item in what amounts to two Twitter posts, so focus on highlighting the key selling points of that product.  

PS — Just like in school, spelling and grammar count! Except here, instead of getting a bad grade, you’ll see poor search results, low sales and smaller profits.  

Product Features

You’ve got a good title, and your description does its job of providing the elevator pitch to keep shoppers interested — but yet there’s more information to share! This is where additional product features can be utilized.  

These additional features can be formatted in a number of different ways. For instance, Amazon lists these as bullet points. Although you can have up to five bullets for an item, only the first three will be immediately visible. eBay refers to these features as Item Specifics.  

These tools are particularly powerful, allowing the shopper to see the main attributes of that item at a glance and making it easier for them to skim through the listing to find the information they need.

You can highlight key terms or phrases in bold print or use all caps to make those features stand out to the shopper and provide a better indication of what that particular bullet point is about.

Product Images

When was the last time you bought something sight unseen? It’s probably been a while. One of the disadvantages of shopping online is you only see what the seller wants you to see. That’s why when it comes to product images, MORE is better!

Most channels allow you to upload multiple images for a single product. Take advantage of that! Products with three or more listings perform better in search and also convert at higher rates than products with just a single image. Here are a few simple things to keep in mind regarding your images:

  • Use high resolution images (1,000-1,200 pixels).
  • Use plain white backgrounds to keep the focus solely on the product.
  • Remember multiple images = multiple angles.  Show all different sides of the product

The best part is that you don’t have to be a professional photographer to have great images. Most brands will offer stock images of their products that you can use that meet the guidelines mentioned.

If you spend some time addressing each of these four key areas, you’ll be well positioned to list products on any mobile marketplace. The best part is that by taking these steps, you actually kill two birds with one stone, as that optimization will carry over to desktop viewing as well. Remember, each marketplace is different, so consult with your channel partners for specific requirements and recommendations.  

In today’s busy world, shoppers rely on their smartphones for convenience and efficiency. Making sure your product listings are optimized for the mobile marketplace will ensure a more pleasurable shopping experience for your customers, and you’ll see a big impact on revenue from that small screen!