If your business offers shopping online, 2016 is the year to start seriously thinking about mobile commerce (m-commerce). Consumers are increasingly turning to the mobile web for consuming content, connecting on social networks, and most importantly, shopping.
Two recent studies by Forrester Research/Shop.org and BI Intelligence highlighted where m-commerce stands and where it’s going in 2016. Read on for our round-up of the key takeaways, and what they mean for your business.
1. Smartphones Have Overtaken Tablets for M-Commerce
According to Forrester’s State of Retailing Online 2016 Key Metrics Report, sales completed on tablets dropped to just 14% of online sales in 2015, putting it below smartphone sales for the first time. Additionally, 33% of retailers plan to devote more resources to smartphone sales in 2016.
What it means for you: Shopping via smartphone is different than on a tablet or desktop. Because the screen size and keyboard are smaller, m-commerce processes need to be streamlined. Start by implementing shorter snippets of text for explaining products and ensure your mobile checkout process is quick and easy. For inspiration, have a look at eConsultancy’s list of top mobile commerce sites.
Among the examples, British retailer Fortnam & Mason does a great job of using visuals with short text to navigate customers throughout their mobile site, including at checkout.
2. Browsers Win Over Apps
BI Intelligence’s Mobile Checkout Report found that, despite the fact that retailers continue to build and roll out apps to make shopping easier—and provide a direct marketing line to a consumer’s mobile device—the majority of m-commerce is happening through web browsers.
What it means for you: App development can be costly, and with customers preferring to shop through a website, applying those resources to making the m-commerce experience on your website better may be a smart bet—especially if you have limited resources. To learn more about improving the m-commerce experience on your website, check out this article on why and how to make your website mobile friendly.
Unlike their competitors, Virgin America has not followed suit in developing an app for travelers. Instead they’ve optimized and streamlined their in-browser mobile checkout process, keeping in mind all touch points from flight to seat selection.
3. Mobile Wallets Aren’t There Yet, But They’re Coming Soon
BI also highlighted the ease of using mobile wallets like Apple Pay and Android Pay. They provide a more seamless mobile shopping experience and are popular with millennials. However, they’re currently only available for transactions at brick-and-mortar stores and through mobile shopping apps. If they expand to mobile browsers, they could help to drive m-commerce.
What it means for you: Keep an eye on the mobile wallet space. If the big players don’t expand to mobile website checkouts soon, someone else will. Being an early adopter when that happens will allow you to offer your customers an easier way to pay for your goods and services. Read up on how integrating mobile wallets can help your business and who the current players are in the market.
For example, food delivery site Delivery.com recently rolled out the integration of visa checkout—an online payment tool to make in-browser checkouts easier.
4. Mobile Conversion Rates are Still Slow
Both reports highlighted the fact that mobile browsing is high, but conversions—while growing—still remain low. Again, this goes back to the fact that the m-commerce experience still needs some work. According to Accenture’s Seamless Retail Research Report 2015, only 42% of consumers think it’s easy to make purchases using a mobile device.
What it means for you: Take a look at your mobile conversion funnel, and streamline it as much as possible. Make sure landing pages have strong calls to action and are stripped of any clutter—navigation elements, ads, links, etc. Need help optimizing your mobile landing pages? Check out our list of landing page best practices.
A great example of a mobile website that does this well is Warby Parker. Their 5-step checkout is easy to follow and offers up a clean and attractive design.
5. What’s Happening on Social
It’s important to reach customers where they are, and when it comes to mobile, it’s mainly on social networks. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest all offer e-commerce integrations. Though adoption rates are still small, expect more retailers to start testing them out in 2016 as social platforms refine and improve their offerings for businesses.
What it means for you: If you have a strong, engaged following on one or more of the top social networks, it may be worth testing out “buy buttons” to measure conversion rates. Check out exactly how to use buy buttons on social media sites Twitter and Pinterest.
On their website, Pinterest highlights an example of furniture company SOBU’s implementation of the Buy It button.
M-commerce still represents a small percentage of e-commerce, but as people increasingly turn to mobile for their online needs, shopping will become a huge part of it. Businesses that invest their time and money into creating an experience that meets consumer’s rapidly changing needs will see their bottom line soar.
Learn more about mobile optimization and read our post on “Why and How to Make Your Mobile-Friendly Website.”