Only if you have been living under a rock if you didn’t notice that in the last few years mobile usage and mobile commerce is growing at the speed of light: according to Internet Retailer in 2015 mobile commerce accounted for nearly 30% of all US e-commerce sales and the 2015 total of $70bn in mobile retail commerce sales is estimated to double to nearly $150bn by 2019.
What all this means is that mobile cannot be overlooked and must be considered an essential pillar – if not the cornerstone itself – on which any online commerce strategy need to be founded: 80% percent of smartphones owners use it to influence their buying decisions, even though they may not complete the final purchase on their devices but use it for showrooming or price comparisons.
Nonetheless, many companies, retailers and B2B vendors still consider mobile an add-on, a “nice-to-have” feature of the stubbornly desktop-centric online commerce experience they keep offering their increasingly frustrated users. Thus, as Econsultancy swiftly points out, for example in the UK retailers miss out on £6.6bn a year (that’s nearly $10 billion) by not going mobile or by having a less than optimal mobile shopping journey, turning customers away and permanently hurting their brands and reputation.
In the rest of this article I will outline 5 common mistakes businesses still do, today, to unintentional sabotage their mobile commerce strategy leaving a huge and growing chunk of their potential revenues on the table. If you recognize any of these errors in your behaviour it’s not too late to fix them, but the time to act is now!
1. Don’t offer a true mobile optimized experience
While I don’t think I should point out that you need to have a mobile optimized website and a mobile app – we give it for granted, and you should too – this might not be enough. Many companies and CEO’s still think a mobile site is a shrunk version of their desktop pages where a few elements are hidden or rearranged (this nonsense is what the “responsive web” blabber has produced) and the result is a clunky and complex navigation experience which inevitably produces frustrated visitors and poor conversion rates. The mobile browsing experience need to be designed with the mobile user in mind, not miniaturizing the desktop shopping path but re-thinking the buying journey from the ground up.
Speaking about this, another common mistake linked to the previous one but more deeply rooted in the culture of small-minded businesses is that the buying journey has to be one and the same for everybody, no matter what device, situation or intention they might have. This means that if the signup form has 10 fields, well, 10 fields they are, no matter if you have to fill them all on the screen of your smartphone while being rocked and rolled in your daily subway commute. Well, I don’t have to tell you how wrong this is: the buying experience has to adapt to the customer need, not the other way around. This means that people expect “one-click” shopping carts, seamless checkouts and truly mobile-friendly payments – even if this means revolutionizing your back-office and your 20 years old procedures.
3. Don’t give mobile-first payment options
Speaking about checkouts, one of the tallest hurdles in the expansion of mobile commerce – and one of the greatest opportunities for companies smart enough to understand it and act fast – is the current state of online payment systems. Entering credit card numbers, validating purchases or even typing email addresses and passwords is not the most efficient way to pay when using a smartphone. Companies need to explore solutions such as Apple Pay, Android Pay or Amazon Payments and understand that offering a seamless paying experience can have a huge impact on conversion rates and therefore on their bottom line, bringing home more sales and more revenues while making your customers happier and more loyal to your brand.
4. Don’t include social and video in your strategy
The activity people do most on their smartphones – even more than calling and talking to other people – is social networking. As of January 2016 Facebook has nearly 1 billion users per day who use it with their mobile and spend most of the time watching videos about everything including dancing cats or babies biting each other’s fingers. So there you have it: the place where your customers hang out – social networks – and the medium they prefer to be reached with – video. This is the recipe for getting to their hearts and minds, spreading your message and taking them into your mobile optimized e-commerce funnel. You can still use your traditional media but if you overlook these two key elements in the modern marketing mix, well, don’t complain if your cost to acquire a customer skyrockets and your conversions suck.
5. Don’t use mobile technologies at their full potential
Finally, the biggest inefficiency businesses face when planning and deploying a mobile commerce strategy is not taking full advantage of the latest and most powerful mobile technologies. In particular, the Holy Grail of modern marketing is mixing social platforms, mobile funnels and geo-localized awareness – and here is where most companies fall short. Very few CEOs understand the importance of offering push notifications and geo-localized coupons while this is a critical element in making your customer more aware, interested and willing to enter ad proceed into your (mobile optimized) buying journey. The tools and technologies are out there, now it’s time to integrate them into your mobile commerce plans.
Did you recognize any of these mistakes in your current mobile marketing and e-commerce strategy? Then it’s time to act, fast, before quicker companies can jump on your shoulders and take your share of present and future customers – people always online, always into their smartphones, always chatting and networking. People wanting you to pay attention to their needs.