Mobile traffic is going to be the biggest ecommerce battleground in 2015. Over the past 12 months we’ve seen consumers move away from using their smartphones and tablets primarily as research tools, toward buying directly through their mobile devices – and this has changed the game for online retailers.
According to Criteo’s State of Mobile Commerce report, smartphones are now the most popular technology for online shopping; they drive 53% of mobile retail transactions. This means that while the 3 main conversion points for ecommerce – appearance, functionality and payments – remain the same, the requirements have changed due to the technology being used by consumers.
It’s expected that in the near future, mobile devices will account for more than 50% of all retail sales. The challenge for retailers over the coming few years is to develop their ecommerce channels alongside this shift to tablets and smartphones, to capitalize on the growing opportunity.
Building a responsive website should be the bare minimum for ecommerce retailers today. There are new levels of optimization available that can tailor the experience even further for customers, based on the device they are using.
For example, smartphones have small screens compared to shopping on a tablet or desktop computer. This means that image-led websites tend to have better conversion rates than heavily text-led platforms, as they appear more attractive on a compact screen. The more words featured, the more cluttered a site becomes, and this visual confusion can be off putting to shoppers.
Simplicity is also vital for mobile shoppers. The more information and functionality included in a mobile site, the slower the load times. Considering many users will be accessing websites through 3G or 4G if an Internet connection is not readily available, poor performance can seriously impact their user experience. Less is more – so concentrate on featuring the most important details, rather than including every product detail. This depth of information should be reserved for a desktop site.
In addition, the navigation through the site should be straightforward and easy to follow. This doesn’t just mean the journey from browsing to buying, but the ability to search for goods as well. For fashion retailers in particular, having a search function is vital, as a third of sales conversions come through customers searching for a specific style or color. Wish lists are also a good idea to remind customers of their previous searches.
Once the customer has decided on an item, the next area to refine is payments. Again, streamlining the look of the page is essential to avoid the screen becoming crowded and difficult to decipher. Single page checkouts are much more effective than requiring shoppers to keep clicking in order to add information.
These are just a few of the basic considerations when building a mobile compatible website, but it’s important for ecommerce companies to continually assess how shoppers use technology within their purchasing journey. Consumer behavior patterns are continually evolving, so even those retailers at the top of their game today could find themselves dropping behind the competition if they fail to adapt to these changes.