Why Mobile is Essential for E-Commerce
E-commerce has been heavily adopted by most retailers, with the vast majority having an online shop to complement their physical presence. However, when it comes to mobile commerce (sometimes referred to as m-commerce or mCommerce) it is quite a different story.
Recent research has found that British retailers lead the way for mobile e-commerce, but there is still a long way to go. 70% of UK retailers have an online shop, yet only 40% have a mobile commerce site and around one in five a dedicated app. For retailers and e-commerce businesses, mobile commerce is essential for your company to compete and succeed.
Benefits of Mobile Commerce
Expanding into mobile commerce offers many advantages to online retailers and e-commerce businesses:
- Attract new customers: Mobile searches are growing, and with an optimised mobile site, this offers a new way to attract mobile-using consumers.
- Fresh marketing channels: Social media is an effective way to market e-commerce companies and with mobile capabilities it can quickly direct consumers using social media apps on their phone to your site.
- Easy to use: Providing the easiest method for customers to make purchases is vital for all e-commerce firms, and a mobile payment option further increases convenience and the range of options available.
- High ROI: As m-commerce is a growing market, it is only likely to get bigger and more competitive. Setting up a mobile commerce site now could prove more cost-effective than waiting a year or longer, while any sale you make could see the costs of upgrading or even setting up the mobile site quickly returned.
Designing a Mobile Website
There are two main methods of mobile commerce, designing a website specifically for mobile and creating a mobile app. Most e-commerce businesses have the first, while some have the latter as well. Each provide their own advantages and disadvantages with tips for improving their effectiveness too.
Mobile websites are the cheaper option and in many cases your existing website can be used as a template, rather than creating a brand new one. It can be better in some cases to design a mobile specific site from scratch, as a simplified layout works better on a smaller screen. Plus, with the added difference of touchscreen capabilities and mobile browsing habits, this change in design may be necessary.
An m-commerce site can also be reached directly through mobile search engines and you only need to design one version that will work across all mobile devices and platforms. When designing the site, think about who will be using it, what information needs to be included and what can be left out to make it as effective as possible.
Building an E-Commerce App
An e-commerce app can complement your mobile site and offer an extra channel for consumers. They often have increased functionality over a regular m-commerce site, with the ability to make use of a phone’s GPS, camera, microphone and other features, where appropriate. Apps can yield a greater return too, as users often have more money.
E-commerce apps provide increased brand exposure and loyalty, with the app ever-present on the user’s phone so they will constantly see it and it will provide a quick and convenient purchasing method. An e-commerce app will have to be designed from the beginning, which also means it can have specific functions built-in from the start, such as a parcel delivery button or comparison feature.
Further Considerations for M-Commerce
Many of the same considerations for creating an e-commerce site should still be addressed when entering the mobile e-commerce market, such as deciding on which parcel delivery companies to work with and providing excellent customer service.
Further important considerations when developing an m-commerce site or app include:
- Offering multiple payment options
- Working with a reliable parcel delivery partner
- Delivering excellent customer service, with easy-to-use contact forms
- Strong online security to protect your business and customers
- Search functions for ease of navigation
- A fast-performing mobile site and/or app
These will all create a much better user experience, ensure customers can easily order what they want and receive their little or large parcel delivery on time and in good condition.
Mobile is vital for all e-commerce businesses and yours should begin entering the market as soon as possible to increase its brand awareness, customer base and sales.
Image courtesy of iStock.
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