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6 Ways to Boost Your Mobile Commerce Performance

By Richard Adhikari
Dec 30, 2017 9:00 AM PT

One thing the latest holiday sales season made crystal clear is that mobile commerce is on the rise.

On Cyber Monday -- which set an all-time-high overall sales record of US$6.6 billion -- mobile shopping totaled 47.4 percent of visits to retailers' websites, according to Adobe, which analyzed 1 trillion visits to more than 4,500 retail sites.

Revenue from purchases made over smartphones grew a record 39 percent year over year to $1.6 billion, and mobile transactions closed at a 12 percent higher rate on Cyber Monday 2017 over the previous year.

"On our customers' sites, we're consistently seeing about half of all traffic coming from mobile," said Graham Cooke, CEO of Qubit.

A pre-holiday survey of 1,000 shoppers, conducted by Leanplum and Branding Brand, uncovered the following:

  • 65 percent of shoppers planned to make purchases using mobile devices;
  • 64 percent expected to use mobile to learn about sales, coupons and other deals;
  • 50 percent would opt-in for push notifications; and
  • 35 percent intended to use smartphone apps to do their shopping.

Etailers could do much more to milk the mobile shopping cow. Revenue per visitor is 56 percent lower on mobile than on desktop.

"Traditional mobile sites aren't designed for the way people want to discover new products," Cooke told the E-Commerce Times.

Following are some steps SMB etailers can take to improve their mobile performance.

1. Get the Basics Right

"Make it easy to log in from mobile," Cooke advised.

Product pages should feature large, high-quality images that can be zoomed into," he suggested. Also, the online checkout "should involve as few pages as possible."

Don't worry about snazzy features like artificial intelligence until your basics are sound, Cooke said. "AI isn't capable of creating information -- just capable of reorganizing or mining information."

Etailers need to collect data in a useful and consumable form first.

2. Make Product Search Easy

Customers often use a traditional hamburger menu as the way to find products in brand catalogs, some of which include thousands of items, Cooke pointed out.

"Coupled with the small screen, brands face a real challenge when it comes to increasing the conversion rates and RPV in mobile, especially when traffic to mobile is increasing," he said.

Meanwhile, competition from social networks such as Instagram and Pinterest, which have been pursuing e-commerce as part of their future growth strategies, has been on the rise.

3. Increase Site Stickiness

"Mobile app users are more loyal, and when a user registers for an account within your app and starts exploring, you get access to their name, location, interests, behavior and more," said Joyce Solano, VP of global marketing at Leanplum.

"Each of these data points gives you an opportunity to customize a push notification or email with relevant details, such as what a shopper previously browsed, and lure them back to your app again," she told the E-Commerce Times.

4. Send Push Notifications

It's crucial to re-engage shoppers, Solano noted, and the best way to do that is through push notifications.

When shoppers add items to their cart but do not check out, etailers "can send them a reminder with personalized details, like their name and cart time, to gently push them toward conversion," Solano said.

Sending mobile push notifications using the app in-box, and sending emails at scale will "increase revenue exponentially, which more than pays for itself," she pointed out.

Marketers sent 2.7 times as many mobile push notifications on Black Friday, and users opened those notifications 2.6 times as often as they normally do would, according to the Black Friday Mobile Report LeanPlum and Branding Brand released.

5. Add Muscle to Push Notifications

Make it easy for consumers to make a purchase when they open your push notification by giving them a seamless checkout flow, the report advises.

Some possibilities:

  • Offer a sign-in option with stored information from the customer's previous checkout;
  • Add a progress bar if the process is long; and
  • Offer streamlined payment with a digital wallet or Apple Pay.

Run A/B tests of all new changes against the original to continually optimize, the report advises.

6. Reinforce Site Security

Data breaches have become common, and they can cost etailers customers. Sixty-one percent of the online shoppers who took part in a recent survey said they would stop doing business with a company that experienced a data breach, Gemalto found.

Some of the main access points that need to be secured are mobile apps, mobile Web browsers and APIs, said Deepak Dutt, CEO of Zighra.

Existing solutions based on rules engines that look at device ID, blacklists and IP addresses "are becoming ineffective as fraudsters change their patterns," he told the E-Commerce Times.. Further, maintaining and updating the rules regularly is labor-intensive.

SMBs should adopt machine learning approaches with specific concepts and categories that can be used to build consumer-device behavioral models, Dutt recommended.

Those methods will detect deviation in normal activity without disrupting shoppers' normal routines, he said, and "also eliminate the frustrating process of setting up and answering extra security questions that drive consumers away."

Richard Adhikari has been an ECT News Network reporter since 2008. His areas of focus include cybersecurity, mobile technologies, CRM, databases, software development, mainframe and mid-range computing, and application development. He has written and edited for numerous publications, including Information Week and Computerworld. He is the author of two books on client/server technology. Email Richard.

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Will supply chain disruptions change when you do your holiday shopping this year?
Yes - I will plan ahead and shop earlier than usual so I have a better chance to find what I need.
Possibly - I like to wait for deals as the holidays approach, though I am concerned that special offers will be limited as a result of shortages.
No - I'll look for alternatives if items on my holiday shopping list arenít available.
I do not plan to do any holiday shopping this year.
Get the Aberdeen report, The ROI of Operationalizing Data to Boost Customer Success