If you’re just now developing your mCommerce strategy congratulations but you need to move quickly. Mobile traffic overtook desktop computer traffic as the dominant way in which people shop online back in August 2014 and the mCommerce market is projected to triple in size to $625 billion by 2018. Market growth will come in the form of expanding mobile eCommerce and also mobile banking and payments, beacon and location-based technology, Internet of Things, and other innovations.
Creating and/or refining your mCommerce strategy is one of the keys to your company’s survival and success in the next decade of digital disruption. Every single company or organization that sells products or services online should be looking forward and smartly investing in their mCommerce capabilities. Here’s some of the methodologies we use when evaluating and developing an mCommerce strategy for one of our clients.
Engage your Customers
This one is simple and straightforward: involve your customers early and often. Run focus group, run mock-ups by them, engage with them on as many levels as possible. Strive to understand how they use mobile in their life and how that applies to your space. Engaging with your customers and potential customers always brings previously unknown and important insights.
Understand Customer Behavior
When I was at Barnes & Noble.com ten years ago, consumer behavior was divided between home and work desktop computers. Most people didn’t have broadband access at home, and therefore eCommerce was primarily conducted at work with lunchtime hours recording the highest volume.
Now the divide is between desktop and mobile devices. Their paths from discovery to purchase are different, peak activity times are different, UX demands are different, and more. For example, data collected last year from over 100,000 eCommerce platforms showed that eCommerce purchases made from desktops dramatically tails off on weekends. The exact opposite was found for eCommerce purchases made from mobiles devices as they peaked on the weekends. Obviously, old strategies must be updated to fit with mobile user demands and habits.
Map your Customer Journey...
Understanding and optimizing your customer's mobile journey is perhaps the single most important exercise in the development of a mCommerce strategy. One’s relationship to the internet is very different on a laptop compared to a smartphone, a smartphone’s more-limited and often cumbersome interface leads customers down a different journey compared to the agile and exact experience on a desktop or laptop computer. For example, the same data from the study mentioned earlier showed that a typical customer journey on a computer starts at a search engine, the consumer already has some of idea of they what. Meanwhile, the average mobile journey does not follow such a clear path, mobile leads tend to be more spontaneous and discovery based, often these leads come from social media channels. Collecting data and following the flow of leads is the best way to optimize your strategy and streamline the way your customers interact with you.
Learn from the best UX...
Design, design, design ... design is becoming an increasingly vital business asset and mobile is a prime example. The internet is a visual medium and those who are able to visually guide their customers down a clearly designed path will reap the rewards. When developing an mCommerce strategy, you must be very aware of mobile UX best practices and keep a close eyes on the highest fliers in mobile UX design. Two great examples of innovative mobile UX are Lush Cosmetics and Virgin America, both are clean and successfully render complicated tasks visually easy to navigate. There are lots of great mobile experiences out there in virtually every segment, look at the top two or three in your space and see what they are doing.
Social Strategy and mCommerce strategy are linked...
Here’s something you don’t need a data analyst to tell you: a hell of a lot of social media is consumed on smartphones. Anyone who rides public transport will tell you that Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, etc are on the screens of nearly everyone stuck on the subway, bus, or train. As mentioned before, mobile leads don’t follow the straight lines that desktop leads do, mobile leads are often spontaneous or discovery based and quite a lot of that comes from social. A successful mCommerce strategy will often work in counterpoint with your social strategy.
mCommerce is a disruptive and rapidly growing market, opportunities to innovate and bring new successes are constantly arising. The development of any mCommerce strategy should include a commitment to continuous and consistent innovation in mobile. Keep an eye on smartphone trends, keep an eye on app trends, keep an eye on what the big boys are doing, keep an eye on what the start-ups are doing. Learn from everyone and push innovation, constantly ask: How can your company or organization uniquely serve your mobile customers.
What’s your approach to mCommerce? Do have any unique insights from your space? I’d love to hear them!