Is Your Mobile Commerce Ready For The Boom?

Your site is soaring up the SERPs for high volume keywords. Your meta-description is such a masterpiece that people can’t help themselves. They click through on their mobile phone and what do they find? The buttons are too small, the text is indecipherable and it’s a pain to navigate.

You’ve just lost another smartphone user.

Mobile commerce isn’t anything new. By 2016, experts believe it will account for over 15% of all online global advertising spend. As more people turn to their smartphones and tablets to satisfy their increasing urge for instant gratification, is your website going to convert or confuse them?

Let’s Talk Statistics

Even if you’ve been living in a cave surviving Bear Grylls style for years, the ghoulish backlight faces that now surround you should have indicated the web is becoming increasingly mobile.

UK smartphone owners have increased from 38% in 2010 to 60% in 2013, and it’s not slowing down. Mobile search is just going up and according to Google it’s driving valuable business outcomes, with 75% of mobile searches triggering follow-up actions.

If your business has a significant web presence and you don’t have a mobile site or use responsive design, then where have you been? If you’re congratulating yourself on having a one but it is unusable then it’s time to stop patting yourself on the back and reassess.

The Rise Of M-Commerce

Mobile use is on the move. It’s no longer acceptable for your website to only work on a full PC screen because the sand is shifting dangerously beneath your feet. Mobile has become a major part of internet behaviour, a piece of the pie you need to make sure you’re getting.

In 2011, one in seven searches in the UK were from a mobile, while 53% of internet users claimed to use only or mostly their mobile to surf online. Although how much this is converting into mobile sales isn’t fully clear. It doesn’t take a crystal ball to realise there are opportunities out there to improve your mobile user experience.

Are You Ready?

Last year’s Cyber Monday saw online shopping reach its highest levels yet and Econsultancy’s Christmas 2012 online shopping survey showed that tablets and mobiles contributed 24% to the UK’s Christmas shopping spree.

Despite this, more users found mobile sites difficult to navigate in 2012 than the previous year – a worrying trend. Unless you’re a household name you probably won’t feature on the mobile web’s hall of shame, but that doesn’t mean you’re not losing mobile customers.

A Word Of Caution

Despite all this furore, the desktop isn’t dead in the water yet and so the larger website shouldn’t be abandoned like a dead fish. Every business is different. Naturally this means the way you want your audience to interact with you will vary depending which industry your company is in and what your brand guidelines are.

But before you pour investment into developing your mobile site, it’s important to consider the ROI. By exploring your corporate strategy you’ll be able to see how your audience is engaging with you, comparing behaviour on your mobile site with that of other converting channels. As always, knowledge is power and should be enough to see if it’s time to jump into mobiles sites with both feet or wait until smartphones are battering down your door.

However, if it’s warranted, paying some attention to the user experience of your mobile visitors will mean you’re looking good from all angles.

Mobile apps can be expensive and not always necessary. Users often aren’t interested in waiting while your app downloads, but are simply looking for a usable mobile interface that will give them the information they are looking for now – especially relevant if they can turn towards your competitors with a swipe of their thumb.

Room For Improvement

This is the era of user experience and mobile search needs to catch up. With the competition surging forward like never before, if it’s not obvious how to get to the checkout you’ll have people fleeing before you can say ‘basket abandoned’ – if they even bother to get that far.

Mobile sites are different beasts and, as such, need a different set of optimisation considerations to convert your swiping visitors. With tools like the Mobilizer helping you to easily see how you mobile site looks and simple WordPress plugins that will convert your current site, there’s almost no excuse.

Try it out for yourself. Is it quick, thumb-friendly, with a design for visibility? If you wouldn’t use it, or can’t, then don’t expect your clients to be any different. Get on the bandwagon and mark your mobile territory before something new comes along, as it always does, and makes the smartphone look like something your gran knitted.

Make sure you’re not losing customers as the world turns mobile. Remember your m-commerce is for the life of your business, not just for Christmas.

Have you embraced it? Or are you struggling to see the ROI? Let us know in the comments.